East Anglia: Media company Archant reports improved first half

Archant chairman Richard Jewson

Archant chairman Richard Jewson - Credit: Archant

The chairman of media group Archant, whose titles include the EADT, has said he is “pleased” with the company’s financial performance in the first half of 2013, with strong cost control the key to improved profitability.

Richard Jewson announced headline turnover of £63.3million, down £3.1m (4.7%) on last year’s first half, but with operating profit before amortisation and exceptional items of £3.5m, up by 80.9% or £1.6m, following cost reductions of £4.5m.

The group operating profit of £600,000 was £1.5m better than 2012’s first-half loss of £900,000.

Mr Jewson said: “Whilst there is some evidence of a strengthening economy, we have seen little of this in the consumer markets which we serve.

“Performance of our Anglia and Lifestyle businesses was relatively strong with declines of less than 3% whilst trading in London, where our magazines face a significant increase in competition, was more challenging.

“Digital revenues in all divisions continued to grow, with an overall increase of 18% on the same period last year.”

Mr Jewson also commented further on the status of a dispute with HM Revenue & Customs in relation to a tax matter dating back more than 10 years, which he described as involving “complex matters of interpretation and judgement”.

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He said that the company was “continuing to engage in correspondence with them and we expect this to continue in the coming months”.

Looking ahead, he added: “There is much comment that green shoots of recovery are becoming visible. As yet we see little evidence that this is building confidence amongst our customers.

“Business improvement will continue to take place by our own efforts, as past initiatives become established, and new ones are introduced.

“We will continue to pursue the strategies set out to transform the business and we anticipate the group performance for the full year will be in line with target and well ahead of 2012.”

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