Trinity Mirror hacking scandal costs rise to £35.5m as it reveals 21 per cent drop in print advertising

Trinity Mirror has raised the estimated cost of dealing with phone-hacking claims  by £7.5m to £35.5m.

It is facing more than 100 civil claims for phone-hacking over a sustained period perpetrated by journalists on its national titles: the Daily and Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People.

Payouts include £188,250 to former footballer Paul Gascoigne and £260,250 to actress Sadie Frost.

Mr Justice Mann explained the size of the payouts in 2015 saying: “The length, degree and frequency of all this conduct explains why the sums I have awarded are so much greater than historical awards.”

The voicemail interception dates from the early 2000s and appears to have been on at least as broad a scale as that undertaken by the News of the World.

Legal fees have apparently pushed up the hacking costs.

Trinity Mirror said: “We have continued to make progress on the settlement of civil claims in relation to phone-hacking with damages for over 80 per cent of claims settled. However, the lengthy process of settling claims and the structure and quantum of legal fees for the claimants has required the provision for settling these matters to be increased by £7.5 million.

“Although there remains uncertainty as to how these matters will progress, the board remains confident that the exposures arising from these historical events are manageable and do not undermine the delivery of the group’s strategy.”

The new costs estimate is included in a trading update by issued by Trinity Mirror for the six months to 2 July ahead of its half-year results which are due on 31 July.

The company said that overall revenue is expected to be down 9 per cent year on year.

Digital growth of 5 per cent is failing to offset print decline of 12 per cent, the company said.

Print advertising was down 21 per cent year on year, a particularly sharp decline.

Chief executive Simon Fox said: “The trading environment for print in the first half remained volatile but we remain on course to meet our expectations for the year. I anticipate that the second half will show improving revenue momentum as we benefit from initiatives implemented during the first half of the year.”

The company said: “We continue to make progress with our strategy of growing digital display and transactional revenue whilst at the same time tightly managing our cost base to support profits and cash flow with net debt falling in the period.”

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