DMGT shrugs off December chill with strong 1st quarter

Despite the freezing December weather which apparently chilled the rest of the UK economy, Daily Mail and General Trust is continuing to power ahead.

In a management statement covering the three months to 2 January, DMGT reported revenue up three per cent year on year to £497m.

Excluding the effect of closures, acquisitions and sell-offs, underlying revenue was up five per cent, the company added.

Chancellor George Osborne blamed bad weather for the UK economy shrinking by 0.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2010, but this was not reflected at DMGT.

The company’s national press division, Associated Newspapers, reported a revenue increase of one per cent in the period to £211m – on an underlying basis, revenue was up five per cent.

Circulation revenue was down one per cent at Associated in the same period while underlying advertising revenue was up six per cent.

Digital revenue, including from its industry-leading website Mail Online, was up 11 per cent in the period, DMGT said, with recruitment and property ad sectors experiencing ‘strong growth”. However, revenue from travel and motoring ad sectors was said to be ‘challenging”.

DMGT said its regional newspaper busines, Northcliffe Media, recorded a year-on-year fall in revenue of six per cent for the quarter to £59m.

In the same period, circulation revenue at Northcliffe fell three per cent and advertising revenue was down six per cent, the company said.

Revenue from B2B operations in the quarter were up 19 per cent to £220m – on an underlying basis this constituted an 11 per cent increase year on year.

At Euromoney Institutional Investor revenue rose by 20 per cent to £86m – up 10 per cent on an underlying basis.

Martin Morgan, chief executive of DMGT, said: “Trading in the first quarter has been in line with our expectations, despite our consumer businesses being hampered by the poor weather in December.

“Overall our B2B operations are experiencing good momentum and consumer media continues to benefit from national advertising growth, though we have limited visibility.

“We remain cautious about the medium term outlook, given the external economic environment. Our focus will remain on investment to drive organic growth, while continuing to seek to improve operational efficiency and to reduce debt.”

In November, DMGT reported full year adjusted revenue down six per cent to £1.98bn with adjusted operating profit up 17 per cent year on year to £320m.

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