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Ad revenue and profits down as Johnston Press announces £81m profit

Overall advertising revenues have fallen by 9pc at one of the UK’s leading regional newspaper publishers.

The fall at Johnston Press comes as its digital revenues grow by 52pc for the 26 weeks up to June 30, 2008.

The company has also seen a drop in operating profit year-on-year from £96.7m to £81.6m before non-recurring items.

Other key findings from today’s interim results show the company was handed an impairment charge of £109m against carrying the value of intangible assets.

An impairment charge is the difference between the value of an asset in its accounts and its actual worth. says: “If you buy a sleek-looking Ferrari and it turns out to be a bit of a lemon, you might conclude that you got a bad deal. Companies regularly do the same thing – pay more for assets than they turn out to be worth.

“When reality dawns, a firm may take an impairment charge in its accounts.”

Johnston Press has also reduced its net debt to £483.9m. It did this by raising £212m of equity funding from a shares subscription, giving net proceeds of £205m.

There will also be no interim dividend payment, which will be reviewed at the end of the year.

The company has been plagued by stories of redundancies at some of its centres in recent weeks with announcements of possible group-wide action by the National Union of Journalists.

Chief executive Tim Bowdler said: “Advertising trends have continued to deteriorate over the course of the year and future performance will inevitably be linked to the economies of the UK and to a lesser extent that of the Republic of Ireland.

“In response to the current challenging circumstances, we continue to actively manage our cost base to achieve productivity gains and in a manner which will protect the long term prospects of the group.”

He said he expected year-end results to reflect these initiatives and the “difficult market conditions”.

“To minimise the impact on profitability, cost management programmes have been implemented which have benefited the first half of 2008,” he added.

  • To read the full interim results announcement go to the Johnston Press website.
  • Comments

    alison robertson (27/08/2008 17:18:36)
    Tim Bowdler won’t worry a jot – he retires this year with his millions and a very comfortable retirement … I DO HOPE he doesn’t enjoy it …

    Ruth Bedford (27/08/2008 21:19:12)
    If JP’s top management hadn’t been so inept in the past five years of over-expansion, the whole group wouldn’t be in such trouble and having to shed experienced journalists with the consequent effect on journalistic standards of their products – not that management cares so long as the money rolls in for them.

    SImon (30/08/2008 09:12:15)
    So much for the Life is Local philosophy!