Johnston Press issues bullish half-year results

THE publisher of The Scotsman newspaper, plus several local newspapers in Scotland, is claiming to be “making good progress”, following the publication of half-yearly financial results.

Johnston Press this morning announced an operating profit (before non-recurring items) of £30.4million on revenues of £176.1million over the 26-week period ending on June 30.

Among the figures, it says it has reduced costs by £12.8million (8.1 per cent) compared with the first half of last year. It says: “Savings have been achieved across the business and include a consolidation of printing activities and a simplification of the management structure”, adding that it “remains confident of achieving its full year cost savings target of £25million”.

As part of a strategy to relaunch all but a handful of its titles – including the Edinburgh Evening News – it says 23 titles have been relaunched, with “encouraging results achieved” and that it’s “on track for rolling out the remainder of our close to 250 titles by the end of 2012″.

In a statement, Ashley Highfield, chief executive, is quoted, as saying: “The first half has been a period of tremendous activity and we have made significant progress. Johnston Press is going through a strategic transformation. As we continue to develop our digital portfolio, refresh our print offering, reduce costs, and use our substantial operating cash flow to bring down our debt, we are increasingly confident about the success of the strategy and the benefits that it will deliver.”