Sport Media Group in profit but circulations slide

Sport Media Group, publisher of the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport, said today that despite circulations peaking in August the business ended the year in profit.

The company, which was rescued by an investment from its former owner David Sullivan in April, said trading in the final five months of last year “continued to be encouraging”.

The company issued a trading update saying: “Although daily circulation of the newspaper failed to hold the peak levels of August, they remained above budget and the group traded profitably for the period.”

SMG said its board was confident that 2010 would see profitability recover further.

The company suffered a number of setbacks last year, withdrawing its titles from Audit Bureau of Circulations measurement in March as sales plummeted.

Sullivan, who last week took control of West Ham United Football Club with David Gold, then stepped in with Gold Group making a £1.7m loan to SMG and taking a ten per cent stake in the business after it breached its banking covenants.

Sullivan had previously sold the newspaper to SMG in September 2007 for around £40m.

The company also said today that it had appointed Martin Robinson, chairman of management group Braemar, as non-executive deputy chairman of SMG. The company said he will become its new chairman following its annual general meeting.

David Bailey, SMG chairman, said: “I feel confident that, with the extensive positions Martin has held, he will bring to us a wealth of expertise and knowledge as we continue to grow the business and move forward with the ever-changing economic climate.”

The company has also appointed Robert Johnson as its new executive director.

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