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Northcliffe's regional newspapers suffer as DMGT's profits rise

The Daily Mail and General Trust has announced increased profits today while its local press division suffers.

The company’s results, for the half year ending March 30, 2008, show an operating profit of £166m – a five per cent increase on the same period in 2007.

Meanwhile, profits at Northcliffe Media, publisher of regional titles such as the Nottingham Evening Post and Leicester Mercury, fell by £4.9m.

DMGT chairman Lord Rothermere said: “Most of our businesses have performed well despite the conditions in the global financial and property markets.

“The economic outlook remains uncertain but the group’s strong cash flow allows continued investment to ensure our businesses achieve their full potential.

“We continue to believe that our strategy of creating a diversified portfolio of market-leading operations across both business and consumer media products leaves us well positioned to deliver long-term growth.”

DMGT’s local newspaper and media businesses have seen tougher trading conditions since the start of the second quarter. UK operating profits fell by £4.9m to £33.8m. Revenues were down two per cent to £179m, with advertising revenues down by 3.8 per cent to £131m.
Retail revenues grew by 1.5 per cent and notices were up 0.3 per cent but all other major categories fell. Property was down 6.8 per cent, recruitment down 1.4 per cent and motors down by 12.5 per cent.
Residential property advertising was down nine per cent and new homes advertising was down four per cent. UK circulation revenues of £37m fell by 3 per cent.

Group revenue for the six months to March 30, 2008, was £1,168m compared with £1,116m for the prior year. DMGT continued to invest in product development to generate long-term growth with 53 per cent of operating profit generated from outside the DMGT’s print newspaper titles. Further progress was made in building the group’s digital advertising channels.

Revenue for the audited period was £508m – up £9m from the previous year – and operating profit was £44m, down £2m. Total advertising revenues increased by four per cent to £242m while circulation revenues went unchanged at £188m.

AND’s revenue grew by 12 per cent to £46m, with revenues in its core classified portals – Jobsite, Findaproperty, Primelocation and – up 20 per cent. Operating profit fell by £3.6m to £2.2m due to development of the online motors portal, which only launched towards the end of the first half last year, and continued heavy marketing of the property sites. The utility switching business, Simply Switch, was closed in February.

Teletext’s operating loss was unchanged at £3m on revenues which fell by 16 per cent to £17m. The results were affected by the delay in the rolling out of Teletext Extra although Teletext’s online business is now showing profit.

Visit DMGT’s website to read the full results.