East Anglia: Media group Archant sees improved second half

ARCHANT, the community media business whose titles include the EADT, has seen a small rise in group operating profit in the second half of 2011, as it has continued to invest in its future and pursue a strategy of developing a customer-centric, multi-media organisation.

In a preliminary statement to shareholders, chairman Richard Jewson said the second half of the year to December 31 saw year-on-year operating profit grow by 1.6% to �7.8million, from �7.7m, on turnover down 2% at �67.8m, from �69.2m, compared with turnover down 4% in the first half year.

Following a challenging first half, operating profit for the full year was down 29.4% at �10.4m, against �14.8m, while turnover held up with only a 3% fall to �135.1m, from �139.3m.

Operating cash flow remained strong at �13.1m, against �13.7m, and net debt at the year-end was �17.4m, down from �23.3m.

Mr Jewson said: “Despite very difficult trading conditions, Archant has continued to invest significantly, both in revenue and in capital, to pursue its strategy of developing a customer-centric, multimedia organisation. With little or no support foreseeable from the economy, it is the actions of the management that will enable us to take advantage of new and emerging revenue streams whilst optimising the existing business.”

Archant’s AGM takes place at noon on April 17 at the John Innes Centre, Norwich.