Richard Desmond’s solely-held Northern & Shell group, the empire that owns Express Newspapers, OK! magazine, six ‘adult’ TV channels and a plethora of soft porn trash titles, is set to post EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortization) of £61.4 million ($98.57m; €87.37m) for last year – up from £43.2m in 2001.

And according to unconfirmed reports in the weekend press, N&S accounts, shortly to be filed with Companies House, will show operating profits leaping from £48m to £60m on sales of £405m. A report in The Observer suggested that the newspaper division, dominated by the Daily Express and Daily Star, would contribute profits of £33m, up from £26m last time.

‘The boy done well,’ as they say in East London’s seedier milieux, so much so that the accounts reveal him to have upholstered his basic annual salary of £629,000 with a bonus of £20,354,000.

The parsimonious Desmond insists that his sole luxury to date this year is to have rented a private jet for a family holiday in Barbados. An example of restraint doubtless appreciated by the several hundred employees he recently laid-off at Express Newspapers.

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK) and Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff