Trinity Mirror faces relegation from FTSE 250

Trinity Mirror looks almost certain to be thrown out of the FTSE 250 index of publicly listed companies later this month after its market value fell almost 90 per cent this year.

The national and regional newspaper publisher is expected to be among the 20 companies due to be relegated to the FTSE 350 when the quarterly reshuffle is announced on 10 December.

At 4pm today, shares in Trinity Mirror were trading on the London stock exchange at 41.75p, giving the company a market value of £107.5m.

The share price has fallen by 88 per cent in the past 12 months, down from a year high of 351.5p.

Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey told Press Gazette in an interview earlier this year that she was confident the publisher would recover from the downturn.

‘The advertising downturn that we are experiencing now is substantially due to cyclical factors,’she said.

‘Do we think the advertising revenue will come back? The answer is yes. We are positioning ourselves to take advantage of those revenues when the cycle returns to healthier levels.”

But Bailey’s track record as Trinity Mirror chief executive was questioned at the Society of Editors conference in Bristol last month by one of her former editors.

Former Sunday Sun editor Chris Rushton, who is now the head of journalism at the University of Sunderland, spoke from the audience during a panel debate on which Bailey appeared.

He told her: “How you stay in your job when you’ve lost 95 per cent of your market capitalisation, I don’t know.

‘You’ve not invested – you’ve just announced 20 per cent redundancies in Newcastle. How are you going to do that and cover a patch?”

So far this year, Trinity Mirror has axed more than 1,200 jobs and closed 44 titles. The group expects to have saved £25m in costs by the end of this year, with a further £20m due in 2009.

Staff have been informed of a group-wide pay freeze in a bid to make £20m in cost savings next year, and staff in the north-west are currently being consulted about a round of up to 78 redundancies.

In a trading update last month, Trinity Mirror said advertising revenues across its titles in the four months to the end of October fell 20 per cent.

The decline was sharper in the regionals division – down 21.2 per cent – compared with the nationals, where ad revenues dropped 15.4 per cent.

The FTSE reshuffle is based on the market values of companies at the close of trading on 9 December.

The companies being promoted and relegated will be confirmed the following morning and the new configuration will take effect on 22 December.

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