Mirror, Express and Star publisher Reach reports pre-tax loss of £113.5m in first half of 2018 despite revenue growth

The publisher of the Mirror, Express and Star newspaper titles has posted a pre-tax loss of £113.5m for the first half of this year, despite growing group revenue by 11 per cent to £353.8m.

Reach, formerly known as Trinity Mirror, has issued its financial report for the 26 weeks to 1 July which includes, for the first time, the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday.

The four national newspapers were officially acquired on 28 February 2018 following a deal with former owner Northern & Shell

When adjusted results are taken – the figure given above is statutory – Reach has posted a profit before tax of £64.7m.

Reach reported that like-for-like print publishing revenue fell by 9.3 per cent, but there was growth in like-for-like digital publishing revenue of 6 per cent, with digital display and transactional revenue growing by 11.5 per cent partially offset by a fall in digital classified revenue of 19.8 per cent.

Reach revealed it had made cost savings of £9m over the six-month period and expected this to reach £18m for the full year, above its intended target of £15m, including £2m from “synergy savings� as the Express and Star teams are merged with the Mirror group.

Reach said it was on track to deliver annualised savings of £20m by 2020.

The company paid £126.7m deal to buy Express Newspapers from Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell this year, pushing up Reach’s net debt by £72m to £81m for the period.

Reach chief executive Simon Fox said: “We have delivered a positive financial performance in what remains a difficult trading environment for the industry, in particular the regional businesses.

“The benefit of improved performance from national print advertising coupled with further cost mitigation will support profits over the year despite a further increase in newsprint prices for the second half.

“We have started the process of integrating Express and Star in order to accelerate the benefits that our combined scale will deliver and have a clear strategy which fully reflects the changing shape of the group.�

Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Source: Digital Journalism

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