The Financial Times, known for decades to City of London denizens the as "the pink 'un" and which has long made a branding virtue of the pink newsprint upon which it is published, may now be compelled to switch its stock to red!

The Pearson-owned daily business newspaper, which is printed in eighteen cities around the globe and until last year had one of the world’s fastest growing international readerships, made a loss in the second half of 2002. The shock result reflects a decline of 6% in circulation during the past twelve months and a dive of 23% in ad revenues.

The FT Group, which includes the paper’s online sibling FT.Com and Paris-based Les Echos also reported revenues down by 8%.

However, FT.com broke even for the first time in Q4 2002 after imposing subscription charges in May. Despite the charges (which apply only to the non-news elements of the site) overall traffic also continued to grow, up by nearly a third on last year to 3.5m users in January 2003.

Pearson as a whole prospered during 2002 with double digit earnings growth and pretax profits of £399 million ($630.20m; €581.73m), up 35.7% on 2001’s £294 million.

Said chief executive Dame Marjorie Scardino: “Last year we increased earnings, generated more cash and improved our return on capital, even though we faced an advertising recession far deeper than expected.”

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff