Trader Media buy leads to rocketing profits for GMG

Guardian Media Group, publisher of The Guardian and The Observer, has achieved a year of significant progress, with increases in turnover, operating profits and cashflow, chairman Paul Myners has reported.

Announcing the group’s annual results, Myners said GMG had resisted the “quick fixes” that others had employed to confront the challenges of a rapidly changing sector. He said the group’s companies had continued to perform well in a period of intense competition.

GMG’s acquisition of Trader Media Group in October 2003 strengthened the long-term security of the main titles and had a marked effect on the results. Group turnover increased by 20.7 per cent to £634.8m and pre-tax profits rose to £43.6m from £36.9m.

On a like-for-like basis, group turnover rose by £23.6m, or 6.6 per cent, with the remaining increase due to the complete ownership of Trader Media in the second half of the year.

Total operating profit was £84.5m, compared with £38.4m in 2003.

Myners said both newspaper titles achieved the industry’s highest percentage of full-price sales. Guardian Unlimited had achieved recordbreaking revenues and a significantly extended reach, while GMG Regional Newspapers achieved a £30m profit level for the first time. GMG Radio outperformed the radio industry as a whole, while Trader Media continued to exceed expectations, he claimed.

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