Trinity Mirror seeks to cut further

Trinity Mirror‘s disappointing trading statement this week is bad news for rival regional newspaper groups Johnston Press and Daily Mail and General Trust, according to City analysts.

The publisher of The Daily Mirror and The Sunday Mirror as well as 150 regional newspapers blamed ‘deteriorating market conditions’and the credit crunch for its prediction that full-year operating profits will be 10 per cent lower than last year.

After Monday’s news Trinity’s share price slipped 44p to 109p at the end of the day, a drop of 28 per cent, and just 4p higher than its six-month low.

Analyst Numis Securities kept a ‘hold’rating on Trinity shares. Its note said: ‘This statement has negative implications for DGMT and Johnston Press, although the former has some protection from its B2B assets.”

Trinity pledged to reach its cost-cutting target of £20m by 2010 and said it would look to make cuts wherever possible.

Challenging

The statement said: ‘Month-on-month volatility remains and this could worsen as we trade through a very uncertain economic outlook.

‘In the challenging advertising environment management continues to manage the cost base tightly and will continue to seek opportunities for further efficiencies.’

Trinity’s advertising revenue was seven per cent down in the first half of 2008 – but in May and June fell 12.5 per cent, compared with a drop of 3 per cent in January and February.

Property was the worst-hit sector with a 27 per cent drop in the past two months, while motoring was 20 per cent down.

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