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Impact of coronavirus ‘not as pronounced as anticipated’ says publisher

MNA-MediaAn independent publisher has played down the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its sales while admitting it does not expect business to return to pre-Covid levels until next year.

The Midland News Association has made the assertion after publishing its annual report for 2019.

In the report, the publisher said a predicted decline in sales had “not been as pronounced as originally anticipated” at the start of the pandemic – but noted it did not expect operations to recover to pre-Covid-19 levels until 2022.

The MNA revealed it had furloughed more than 230 employees, or 29pc of staff, during the crisis as well as agreeing salary reductions and reduced hours in order to combat the economic impact.

The company also put 90 jobs – including 14 in editorial – at risk of redundancy in May.

The report states: “The actual decline in sales of the company has not been as pronounced as originally anticipated at the outset of Covid-19.

“However, the results for 2020 will be significantly reduced as a result of the lockdown period and the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

“The company expects the impact of the Covid-19 will continue to be felt during 2021 with the operations recovering to pre-Covid-19 levels in 2022.”

It adds: “After making enquiries, the directors have a reasonable expectation that the company and the group have adequate resources to continue operational existence for the foreseeable future.

“Accordingly, they continue to adopt the going concern basis in preparing the annual report and accounts.”

The company recorded a pre-tax loss of more than £2m in 2019, compared to £1.8m the previous year.

Turnover was at £25.9m for the 52 weeks ended 28 December last year, compared to £28.7m for the same period in 2018.

HTFP has approached MNA for further comment.