Trinity Mirror expects 'challenging' ad market will stabilise

Trinity Mirror has said it expects a slower decline in advertising revenues during the year, despite a "challenging and volatile" market.

The group, which saw a 2.4 per cent drop in advertising revenues during the first four months of the year, said the rate of decline would slow as the market stabilises.

In a statement issued ahead of the company's annual meeting, chairman Sir Ian Gibson said the group's performance for the year would be in line with expectations.

Its national papers saw advertising revenues fall by 4 per cent overall, with a 5.8 per cent drop in UK national revenues more than offsetting 0.9 per cent growth from its Scottish titles, which include the Daily Record.

Trinity Mirror owns five national newspapers and around 240 regional titles, as well as 300 websites. Its digital division achieved underlying revenues growth of 24.8 per cent.

Circulation revenues fell by 0.5 per cent across the group, with nationals falling 0.7 per cent and regionals by 0.8 per cent. The Scottish titles and the firm sports division, which includes the Racing Post, both saw circulation revenues edge up 0.3 per cent.

Trinity added that it was on track to complete the disposal of its sports division and regional newspapers in the Midlands, London and the South East by the end of September. The group has received approaches from trade buyers and private equity firms after announcing plans for the sale, which include regional titles such as the South London Press, the Birmingham Post and the Coventry Telegraph.

The move is part of the company's strategy to develop its digital revenues through acquisitions and organic growth. This week Trinity Mirror bought TotallyLegal.com, an online recruitment site for the legal profession, and TotallyFinancial.com, serving the financial sector, for £11.8 million.

These sites will sit alongside the group's other online recruitment businesses which includes sites such as SecsintheCity, and accountancy recruitment site GAAPweb.

In March, the company announced a 4.8 per cent fall in annual revenues to £1.03 billion and said pre-tax profits dipped by 13.8 per cent to £185.4 million during 2006.

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