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Profits leap 25pc at Trinity Mirror following Local World deal

TMannualreportTrinity Mirror’s purchase of rival publisher Local World has seen its profits leap by more than 25pc according to the company’s annual results published today.

The £220m deal which was concluded at the end of 2015 saw TM become the UK’s biggest regional publisher with titles in many of the country’s biggest cities.

Today’s results show that operating profit rose from £109.6m in 2015 to £137.5m last year on the back of the deal – an increase of £25.5pc.

The figures also revealed that the takeover has delivered more “synergy savings” than originally anticipated, with forecast savings of £15m in 2017 compared to the original target of £12m.

The results announcement, published this morning alongside the company’s annual report, says the growth in adjusted profit was “driven by the benefits of the acquisition of Local World and continued tight management of the cost base.”

It said there had been “excellent progress” on integrating Local World, delivering £10m of synergy savings in 2016 and forecast annualised savings of £15m in 2017.

Overall revenues increased from 592.7m in 2015 to £713m last year, with print publishing revenues up from £485.9m to £581m and digital revenues up from £42.9m to £79m.

However the report acknowledged that the company’s regional titles continued to operate in a difficult market with average sales declines of 15.1pc for paid-for dailues and 17.1pc for paid-for weeklies.

Commenting on the results for 2016, TM chief executive Simon Fox said: “We have delivered a strong financial performance in the year despite the challenging environment we face.

“I am particularly pleased with the progress we have made in growing our digital audience and revenue, and with the work we have done this year to develop and refine our strategic priorities for the year ahead.”

The report highlights the roll-out of a programme of relaunches for the group’s regional titles which saw more focus on football and entertainment, as well as the closure of a small number of titles.

“During 2016, we continued to enhance our regional print brands through the roll out of a new design with less focus on crime, more reporting on things to do in the city and improved coverage in areas such as football and entertainment,” it says.

“Alongside enhancing our newspapers we continue to rationalise the portfolio and during 2016 we closed a small number of regional newspapers and at the end of 2016 we handed back to DMGT four of the eight Metros franchises we operated.

“The market for our regional titles remains difficult with declines of 15.1pc for paid for dailies, 17.1pc% for paid for weeklies and 17.9pc% for paid for Sundays. All titles are experiencing difficulty and our overall trends remain challenged in the market.”

The National Union of Journalists has seized on the profits announcement saying it strengthens the case for an improved pay offer at the group.

Martin Shipton, FoC of the NUJ Trinity Group chapel said: “We note the positive tone of the chief executive’s message to the city and look forward to a change of approach in pay negotiations. So far our local members have been offered below-inflation salary increases.

“Clearly, on the basis of Simon Fox’s comments on the annual report, more can be afforded. At a time when significant further redundancies have been announced by the group, it is important to stress how only by investing in quality journalism will Trinity Mirror achieve a sustainable future.”

Chris Morley, NUJ coordinator for Trinity Mirror, added: “Clearly there is money in the coffers for serious investment in quality journalism. That means paying journalists better, not continuing to hack away at jobs and experience to the detriment of print titles and levelling up benefits for Local World colleagues. ”

The annual report can be read in full here.


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  • February 27, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Anything that keeps journalists in jobs is good news, hopefully it does.

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  • February 27, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Profit by cutting staff, which TM has since the buyout, and refusing to invest in quality journalism.
    Not profit by quality of offer. Most of the titles now sell a quarter of what they did a decade ago, so this is the typical TM approach of cutting every penny for profit while they can.

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  • February 27, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    “…. tight management of the cost base.”
    “… delivering £10m of synergy savings in 2016 and forecast annualised savings of £15m in 2017″

    Easy to do simply by offloading vast numbers of staff.

    And the second quote is simply the old chestnut of forecast low/deliver high for pats on the back all round.
    Remember the quality drops and the work loads increase when cost savings rise,

    Interesting that apart from ditching staff to save salaries the true merit of the papers can be judged by the actual paper sales which continue to plummet, thats the real story here, once all the staff are gone they’ll still be stuck with products few people are prepared to pay for

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