Slump in profits at News Corp's UK titles

Operating profit at News Corp‘s UK subsidiary slumped to £27.7m in the year to June 2009, compared with £107.3m in the same period the previous year, Companies House accounts today revealed.

Turnover for the year was also down, to £1,347.5m from £1,422.3m due mainly to reduced advertising income, the accounts state.

The accounts released today are for Newscorp Investments Ltd which publishes The Times, Sunday Times, Sun and News of the World. These accounts also include the figures for Harper Collins book publishing in the UK.

Turnover for the newspaper publishing side of the business dropped to £1,053m from £1,110.6m and pre-tax profits for the newspaper titles dropped from £87.5m in 2008 to £54.1m in the year to June 2009, the accounts state.

The company reported redundancy costs of £26.9m. In the year to June 2009 the number of employees at the newspaper titles dropped from 3,709 to 3,260.

Citing the success of Sun Bingo, the Sunday Times wine club the Times+ loyalty scheme the company said: ‘Over time we expect a greater proportion of our revenues to be derived from direct relationships with our readers, building on the strength of our traditionial wholesale/retaiul newspaper distribution model.”

News International, which is a separate corporate entity, reported a drop in pre-tax profits to £34.7m for the year June 2009 compared with £51.2m in the year to June 2008.

The annual report for News International reveals that the company made an operating loss for the year of £49.9m, more than tripling the 2008 operating loss of £15.6m.

The Guardian is reporting further figures released today which show that pre-tax losses for the Times and Sunday Times in the year to June 2009 increased to £87.7m from £50.2m the year before. And it reports that at News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary that publishes the Sun and the News of the World, profits fell to £40.3m, from £44.7m, in the year to June.

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