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Publishers take phone-hacking claims into account

The UK’s number one regional publishers is making ongoing contingency plans to offset financial fall-out from alleged phone-hacking.

Trinity Mirror, facing 17 civil claims, has put £4m into a ‘war chest’, according to its half-year financial report.

The publisher, with a three million lead in combined weekly circulation over its next nearest regional rivals, is still co-operating with the police into payments to public officials and phone-hacking at its titles.

With traditional revenues and profits down in the first half of the year, the report highlights that the group is “aware” of civil claims from individuals in relation to phone hacking.

“It remains uncertain as to how these matters will progress, whether further allegations or claims will be made, and their financial impact,” says the report.

“In the first half we have provided £4million to cover the cost of dealing with and resolving claims.”

Trinity Mirror’s first half year revenue fell by 2.3pc year on year to £324.2m, and profit before tax was £48.2m, down 2.2pc.

Revenues slipped by 2.5pc to £281.6m in the publishing division, with print revenues sliding 4.3pc year on year to £266.7m. Advertising sales were down 8.8pc to £108.3m and circulation revenues fell 1.2pc to £142.5m. 

But encouragingly web traffic almost doubled (91pc) to 61.3 million year on year and average monthly page views grew by 132pc to more than 440 million.

As a result digital revenues in the publishing division leapt by 47.5pc to almost £15m.

And now the group is looking forward to bringing back dividends at the end of this year for the first time since 2008.

Chief executive Simon Fox is optimistic. “This momentum gives the board confidence that our performance for the year will be marginally ahead of expectations,” he said.

“The strengthened financial position of the business together with continued strong cash flows also support the board’s intention to reinstate dividends at the end of this year.”

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  • July 29, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I’m no Carol Vorderman, but £15m in digital revenues doesn’t get close to covering up to the holes being created elsewhere.

    This dyke is leaking badly, and the digital finger isn’t fat enough to plug it.

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