Archant chief earned more than half-a-million in 2009

Adrian Jeakings, chief executive of regional newspaper publisher Archant, earned more than half-a-million pounds last year.

As part of his earnings the chief executive was paid a bonus of almost a quarter of a million pounds, the publisher’s annual report for shareholders reveals.

During the same period Archant, which is a privately-owned company, froze staff pay to cut costs and reduced headcount by 16.9 per cent, the report stated.

According to figures listed in the report, once all exceptional items were taken into consideration Archant made a pre-tax profit of £674,000 last year.

This figure was an improvement on the pre-tax loss of more than £25m it made in 2008, when the company took an impairment charge of more than £33m on its intangible assets.

During 2009 like-for-like newspaper and printing revenue fell by £23.3m (19.1 per cent) to £98.4m. Revenue from Archant’s magazine and contract publishing business was £43.6m, down £9.9m (18.5 per cent) year-on-year.

“Advertising revenue fell in all categories over the full year, however trends both in display and property improved over the course of the year, with fourth quarter performance, and December in particular, showing strong like-for-like growth,” the report revealed.

The annual report showed that Jeakings was paid a £224,000 bonus on top of his £280,000 salary last year.

In addition, he was paid £14,000 of “other benefits” for a total pay packet of £518,000.

Ahead of the publication of its annual report, Archant published selected financial details earlier this month showing the company recorded a year-on-year fall in operating profit of almost a third last year to £15.1m.

The company, which publishes newspapers including the Eastern Daily Press and the East Anglian Daily Times, said it recorded a 19 per cent fall in revenue to £142m last year, down from the £175.1m it generated in 2008.

Archant said the falls came against a background of “challenging economic conditions and advertising revenues declining in all major categories”.

A spokesman for Archant told Press Gazette that all those employees not in the official bonus scheme were paid a one-off bonus of £200 in December.

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