Tindle Newspapers is acquiring a new title in the south of England and launching two more newspapers – as well as paying a bonus to all full-time staff.
The new titles, which the company has not yet named, will add to the group’s growing portfolio of more than 200 weekly, fortnightly and monthly newspapers.
In June Tindle launched the fortnightly paid-for Chingford Times and weeks later published the first edition of The Pembroke and Pembroke Dock Observer.
Owner Sir Ray Tindle said it was the success of those titles that had prompted the expansion of its portfolio and the bonus payout to staff.
Every full-time employee will receive a minimum lump sum of £125 and the payouts will increase according to the profits of each Tindle centre, up to a maximum of £400-a-head.
This will be earned by at least 12 of the group’s newspaper centres.
Sir Ray said: ‘We have been hit by the economic downturn like any other group but most of our local community papers around the country are performing better than the average and providing the profits to keep the others going.
‘Plans are well advanced for us to buy or launch more of these titles, especially in the West country and Wales, but also in places where communities have lost or never had their own papers. These newspapers are the lifeblood of their communities and readers are calling out for them.”
In a letter sent to all staff from the group management, Sir Ray admitted that while the papers were surviving profits had fallen ‘very considerably against pre-recession levels”, with eight or nine centres operating at a loss and the group’s profits running at around 20 per cent of 2007 levels ‘and still falling”.
‘Despite this the directors are proud that the company is the only newspaper group which has not yet had to turn to redundancy to keep the ship on an even course,’added Tindle.
‘No journalist has been asked to leave our employ.”