GMG Regional Media recorded a loss of £100,000 in the last year of operation before it was sold, it has been revealed.
The annual results for the Guardian Media Group for 2009/10 show its regional media division had become a loss-making business, compared to profits of £500,000 the previous year.
GMG sold its regional division in March to Trinity Mirror for £44.8m. It included subsidiaries MEN Media which publishes the Manchester Evening News and 21 weekly titles in the North West and Surrey and Berkshire Media, which publishes 10 titles in the South East.
The annual report said the performance of GMG Regional Media reflected the struggles in the wider regional press, with its profits declining each year since 2005.
It added that with less than 4pc of the market, GMG was not in a position to develop its regional division and there were also ‘major liabilities’ if it had continued to own this, including the fixed costs of a long-term printing contract with Trinity Mirror.
Overall, the Guardian Media Group reported pre-tax losses of £171m in the year.
Carolyn McCall, chief executive of GMG, said: “The recession has driven steep declines in advertising revenues across the media industry, and has been a real test for all our businesses.
“However, steps taken to reposition the portfolio in the years before the downturn, and our actions over the last year in response to the economic crisis, meant that GMG ended 2009/10 in good shape.
“Significant cost savings during the year led to a fall in operating loss before exceptionals. In addition, there were important changes within our businesses and to the portfolio which strengthened the group’s long-term financial position.”
Click here for the full results.