Johnston Press chief executive Tim Bowdler has reported stronger than expected advertising revenues for the second half of this year.
Revenues in the second half show like-for-like growth of 4.9 per cent for the five months to 30 November. This comprised 3.8 per cent from those businesses owned prior to the Regional Independent Media (RIM) acquisition and 7 per cent for the former RIM companies and compares with growth rates of 2.5 per cent and 4 per cent respectively in the first half.
During the period, property advertising has continued to perform strongly and recruitment advertising has witnessed improved growth levels. National display advertising also improved after a weak first half.
Bowdler said: “Circulations of Johnston weekly titles continue to achieve modest overall growth and are now into their eighth successive year of increase. The focus of attention on our daily titles has resulted in some improvements, although we have yet to see a reversal in the trend of modest decline.
“We remain on track to deliver cost savings in 2003 of more than £10m in respect of last year’s acquisition of RIM. The business continues to perform well and progress remains ahead of our initial expectations.”
He added that the improvement in revenue growth, coupled with continuing good control of costs, was expected to result in profits for the year to 31 December being above current market expectations.