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Publisher’s newspaper division sees rise in profits

A publisher has seen profits at its newspaper division increase, despite an overall fall in pre-tax profits of 24pc.

The annual results for DC Thomson for the year to the end of March 2013 showed the group’s newspaper and magazine division saw operating profits rise to £16.3m from £12.6m.

But for the group overall, pre-tax profits were down to £23.7m, compared to £31.1m for the previous year.

The group said it had a “solid” performance for its newspapers and magazines but a “difficult” year in its books division, which consists of publisher Paragon, where turnover fell to £84.6m from £97.7m and it made a loss of £1m.

In the directors’ report, they said the commissioning of a new print plant in Dundee and the transfer of distribution to an external source had contributed to an improvement in underlying profit for the newspaper and magazine division.

Total circulation revenues from its newspapers, which include The Courier and The Sunday Post, were almost unchanged for the year because reductions in volume were balanced by increases in cover prices.

But the report said its decline in circulations compared “favourably” with national and regional trends.

Advertising revenues for DC Thomson’s newspapers was down 4.9pc year-on-year, while in magazines the figure was 4.7pc.

The directors’ report said: “This has been another year of significant change for the group.

“The newspaper print facilities in Glasgow and Aberdeen were closed during the year after the completion of the refurbishment and rebuilding of the Dundee newspaper printing plant with a new high speed state-of-the-art press.

“The publishing business has many challenges but in newspapers and magazines our performance was solid overall. The book business was difficult.”

The number of staff employed by the group fell from 2,027 the previous year to 1,896, while the unnamed highest paid director received £189,000.