Daily Mail publisher profits dip despite revenue rise

Daily Mail and General Trust has reported an increase in overall revenue but will report lower than expected profits at its year-end later this month.

DMGT, owner of the Daily Mail and regional newspaper publisher Northcliffe Media as well as substantial business information assets, today reported a four cent year-on-year revenue increase for the 11 months to 31 August, two per cent up on an underlying basis, despite large falls in revenue from classified advertising.

In a trading update to the City, the company said its year-end results on 28 September would show profits ‘at the lower end of current market expectations’but said this was not due to the financial crisis hitting the world banking sector.

Analysts reports quoted by DMGT show that the City expects the company to make profits of between £257 million and £279 million this year – compared to the £288 million it made last year.e.

Company chairman Lord Rothermere said: ‘Our strategy of creating a diversified international portfolio of market-leading operations across both business and consumer products provides considerable resilience and leaves us well positioned to deliver long-term growth.

‘Inevitably, the worsening economic conditions are having an impact on our newspaper and property businesses but the B2B divisions have continued to perform well. The recent events experienced by financial markets and institutions will have no material impact on this year’s results.”

Associated Newspapers – which was last week merged into a new national and regional newspaper division with Northcliffe called A&N Media – saw its revenues increase by one per cent. Circulation revenues increased by one per cent, reflecting a price rise for the Daily Mail from 40p to 50p.

Advertising revenue for Associated for the 11 months to 31 August was up 0.4 per cent year on year; that figure includes an 11 per cent drop in print classifieds revenue but a two per cent increase in display revenue overall.

Online division Associated Northcliffe Digital (AND) saw its revenue grow by 11 per cent and the company said that revenue from A&N Media’s companion websites ‘continued to grow steadily”.

July and August were particularly difficult months for A&N with overall advertising revenue down by three per cent year on year, with classifieds suffering a 15 per cent fall – trends that have ‘broadly continued into September”, the update said.

Investment in Associated’s new full-colour printing plant in Didcot will adversely affect its profits this year, the company said, as will weakening advertising income.

Northcliffe’s total revenue for the same period was down five per cent year-on-year with all major advertising categories remaining ‘under pressure”.

Property advertising revenue was down 19 per cent for the period – but in July and August property was 45 per cent down year-on-year while recruitment was down 28 per cent. September swa further deterioration on those figures with ad revenue down 28 per cent year on year.

An encouraging sign for DMGT was its digital revenues which for the 11 months to 31 August were 46 per cent ahead on the same period last year, representing six per cent of the company’s income, although ‘the pace has slowed’recently

In the company’s B2B division, DMG Information saw revenues rise by eight per cent while Euromoney, the financial news and analysis magazine and website said yesterday in its own trading update that it expected to beat analyst predictions and make at least £64 million in underlying profits by the year-end.

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