Profits Rise Reported for Inverness Publisher

North of Scotland weekly newspaper publishers, Scottish Provincial Press, has posted a 50 per cent increase in operating profit to £2.5 million, according to its accounts just lodged at Companies House – according to a report in today's edition of The Herald newspaper.

Says The Herald, SPP achieved the year-on-year profit rise on a turnover down only £200,000, at £13.5 million.

And the Inverness-based group – which publishes 15 weekly titles, including the Inverness Courier, the Highland News, John O’ Groat Journal and Northern Scot – is reported to have begun revamping its presence on the internet.

The new-look Highland News website will be followed by sites for all SPP’s 12 paid-for titles, and a motors website will next month follow the ‘jobs-north’ site launched last year.

The Herald quotes SPP managing director, Thelma Henderson, as saying: “We have got to do something that is going to protect the business in five years’ time. I don’t think anyone can second-guess the shape the business will take but the digital backdrop of our business was really poor.

“We have still got very strong local newspapers, with journalists in their local community. If we can back that up with a good digital platform we have got as good a fighting chance as anyone else.”

Says a media release issued today, a new £11 million funding package has been agreed between SPP and the Clydesdale Bank, including a long-term loan, overdraft, BACS and direct debit facilities.

In addition to newspaper production, SPP operates two publishing divisions – producing 260 publications annually. New Century Publishing Group publish wedding guides and publications for organisations including VisitScotland, and Method Publishing produce publications for the Armed Forces.

Henderson is quoted, saying: “Scottish Provincial Press is committed to providing communities in the north of Scotland with interesting and relevant local news, and will continue to prioritise this as the business moves forward.”

And the bank's Mike Brown is also quoted, this time saying: “Scottish Provincial Press has a committed management team, a high quality range of local newspapers and an excellent reputation within the publishing industry more broadly.Against the backdrop of change in the publishing sector, the firm continues to progress by delivering excellent publications for communities in the north of Scotland.”