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Johnston Press blames 'extremely challenging' market for 9 per cent drop in group revenues over first five months of 2018

Yorkshire Post and i publisher Johnston Press has said its group revenues are down 9 per cent for the first five months of the year.

In a trading update for the period from 1 January to 31 May, the regional publisher said today the “trading environment remains extremely challenging”.

It said this had been “exacerbated in recent months by uncertainty around future paper costs and the impact of GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] on digital advertising revenues”.

The group’s expectations for 2018 remain in line with the market, it said.

Johnston Press reported adjusted revenue down 4.5 per cent to £201.2m in 2017. Its full-year financial statement also revealed adjusted profit before tax was down 19 per cent to £14.2m over the year.

The group revealed in today’s update that it had £24.6m in the bank as of the end of May, but faces bond repayments of £220m this month.

A committee of bondholders was formed in November last year as part of a strategic review to consider options for restructuring or refinancing the debt.

Changes to the group’s pension scheme have been proposed, although it is understood that no agreement has yet been reached.

Johnston Press is one of the UK’s largest news publishers, with hundreds of regional publications from weeklies to dailies.

Picture: Johnston Press

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