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Newspaper group made £8m profit, not £7m loss says finance chief

Richard BeastallA regional publisher’s finance chief has insisted a newspaper group responsible for publishing three daily titles “remains strong” after it posted a £7m pre-tax loss for last year.

As reported yesterday, Glasgow’s Herald & Times Group, which is part of Newsquest, recorded the figure in its annual accounts filed with Companies House.

However, the company now says the reported loss was the result of a “corporate restructure” which involved inter-company debts being written off, and that it actually posted an operating profit of £8.8m.

Newsquest (Herald & Times Limited) has now officially been transferred into its parent company meaning its accounts will no longer be published separately.

In a statement, Newsquest Scotland and Northern Ireland finance director Richard Beastall said: “The reports identified that the company made a pre-tax loss of £7m, however they did not clarify that the underlying performance of the business remains strong.

“The reported loss was the result of a corporate restructure which aimed to simplify Newsquest Media Group by reducing the administrative burden associated with operating many trading companies.

“To allow the restructure to be completed, a number of companies will be wound up, making it necessary to write off legacy non-cash intercompany debts.”

Richard, pictured, said an operating profit of £8.8m was made by Newsquest (Herald and Times) Limited in 2017, which was in line with the profit made on a like for like basis in 2016.

He added: “Profits were maintained at this level despite revenue declining by £1.8m, meaning an operating profit margin growth of 0.8pc to 20.4pc was achieved.

“Once the results of the other Scottish operating company Newsquest (Clyde and Forth Press) Limited are included, the overall performance of the Scottish and Northern Irish operations of Newsquest returned profits of £10.7m at a margin of 20.1pc. This represents an improvement on the profits of £10.5m at a margin of 18.9pc earned in 2016.

“This strong performance was achieved by focussing efforts to replace declining revenues earned from newspaper sales and classified advertising. The directors of the business also sought to reduce expenditure where appropriate through the removal of loss-making titles or operations.

“Whilst the challenges associated with operating within this ever-changing market persist, the directors are confident that the business remains well positioned to adapt as is necessary whilst continuing to deliver healthy profit levels.”

Earlier this month Newsquest launched new Glasgow-based papers the Sunday National and The Herald on Sunday, following the closure of the Sunday Herald the previous week.

Daily titles The Herald, The National and the Glasgow Evening Times are also run from Newsquest’s Glasgow centre.


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  • September 25, 2018 at 11:53 am

    That’s more like it. The focus should be on operating earnings or EBITDA — money coming in the door less money going out the door.

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  • September 26, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Pleased to learn about a rosy future for the industry. I look forward to newspaper groups now taking over the funding from the taxpayer of local democracy reporters. Otherwise what next? The BBC paying for staff at Tesco as part of its public service responsibilities?

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  • September 28, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    West Yorks Analyst – I didn’t know that the BBC had started up selling groceries too in direct competition to Tescos? Blimey. I therefore completely endorse the suggestion that they subsidise Tescos workforce. Hmmm…..

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