Britain’s Johnston Press Socks It to ‘Em With 51% Profits Hike

28 August 2003

British regional newspaper group Johnston Press on Wednesday reported H1 result well above analysts’ expectations, delivering a year-on-year profits uplift of 51%. Pre-tax profit for the period leapt to £66.7 million ($104.5m; €96.37m), driven by a 28% increase in revenues to £249m.

Gladdening what passes for hearts in the City of London, the result is seen as a pointer to better times for the embattled media sector. Johnston, however, attributes is success to tighter cost control and benefits accruing from its takeover last year of rival Regional Independent Media.

Chief executive Tim Bowdler also stressed he saw no immediate signs of improvement in the market as a whole. “We anticipate continued modest advertising revenue growth,” he said, “and remain confident that the outcome for the year will reflect good progress.”

Advertising income rose on a like-for-like basis by a relatively low-key 3% while volumes were up 1.6%. Property advertising grew 11.9% in line with rise and rise of real estate values.

One analyst quoted by the Financial Times spoke for all the EC2 hustlers: “It’s a cracking company,” he sighed romantically.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff