Johnston Press has increased its like-for-like operating profit by 4 per cent in the first six months of 2013 to £28.6m
However, the regional publisher also wiped off £194.5m from the value of its print titles, according to a statement to the stock market this morning.
The group, which owns more than 200 local and regional newspapers, also wrote down £57.9m from its printing press assets following the cancellation of a printing contract with News International (now News UK).
The new valuation of its assets contributed to an operating loss of £225.4m for the company in the first half of 2013 on a statutory basis.
Chief executive Ashley Highfield told Press Gazette that the change in valuation was “non cash and had no bearing on the value to the City”.
Chief financial officer David King said he had applied the impairment charges as he had taken “a very prudent view of the growth-rate assumptions” of the company’s assets.
On a like-for-like basis, total revenue for the publisher was down from £159.9m in the first six months of 2012 to £144.3m in the same period this year, a drop of almost 10 per cent.
Revenue from advertising was 13.6 per cent down, year on year, but the gap between 2012 and 2013 advertising income has narrowed from 17.6 per cent at the start of the year to 6.3 per cent in June and July.
Highfield said the narrowing revenue decline was down to the growth in digital advertising, which was up by 13.3 per cent over the full six months and 31.9 per cent year on year in June and July.
Net debt was down 15.3 per cent for the first half of the year, from £361.7m to £306.4m, helped by a reduction in costs of £24.3m. The company has previously said reducing debt was a “key priority”.
Johnston Press said that it has now completed the relaunch of all its paid-for print titles.