JOHNSTON Press plc, (LSE: JPR), announces its results for the 26-week period ended 1 July 2017.
Whilst the wider publishing industry continues to experience sharp declines, the group is pleased to report that strong growth in digital revenues and the i newspaper combined to offset print decline in the business (excluding classifieds).
The board remains confident in the outlook for the rest of 2017.
Financial highlights (adjusted, including the i newspaper):
• Revenue grew by 4.6 per cent during the period (excluding classifieds)
• Digital advertising revenues were up 14.8 per cent (excluding classifieds)
• Print and digital advertising revenues combined were flat for the period (excluding classifieds)
• The i newspaper delivered strong performance: H1 revenue of £14.5m (up 28.6 per cent in the comparable 12-week period post acquisition) and EBITDA of £3.7m6 (up 42 per cent to proforma)
• Transactional media sales centre (telesales) revenues were up one per cent to £10.3m
• Operating costs reduced 7.3 per cent before full period effect of the i newspaper
• The group delivered Adjusted EBITDA of £19.7m
• As of 1 July 2017, the group had total cash of £28.8m, with net debt down 8.7 per cent in the period.
Ashley Highfield, chief executive Officer, commented: “In the context of the broader industry trading environment – where print classifieds, in particular, are in continued significant structural decline – we are focused on creating a business for the future.
“Our core business provides advertising and digital marketing solutions to companies, large and small, around our trusted, quality, brands that have significant reach into their communities.
“This is a business which we have long believed needed to transform, but once done, could return to growth.
“Thus, since 2012 we have been making the necessary and at times painful changes to transform Johnston Press into a truly cross-platform business. Whilst trading remains challenging, the business has responded and, as a result of our substantial efforts and clear strategic focus, I am very pleased to announce that we have posted revenue growth in the business (excluding classifieds) of 4.6 per cent during the half.
“Digital revenues (excluding classifieds) have outweighed the declines of print advertising revenues, helped by an editorial focus that has resulted in digital audiences at a record high, and by a fantastic performance from the i newspaper which has achieved significantly enhanced performance during the sixteen months since acquisition.
“The group delivered Adjusted EBITDA of £19.7m in the first six months, in line with the board’s expectations.
“Having implemented the next phase of planned cost reduction initiatives aligned to the group’s wider publishing strategy, the board remains confident in the outlook for the rest of 2017.”
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