Firm’s profits hopes

PUBLISHING group Archant says it is transforming its traditional businesses for the changing world, as it announced lower revenue and profitability for the first six months of 2011.

It suggested that performance will be better in the second half of the year, despite the poor economy.

Richard Jewson, chairman of Archant, which owns The East Anglian Daily Times, said: “We are transforming our traditional businesses for the changing world and developing new businesses, taking full advantage of changes in technology. We are not waiting for the economy to improve to take action, and provided there is no further deterioration in our markets, we expect better profits in the second half to achieve our forecast for this year and to achieve growth in profits in 2012.

Archant announced total revenue in the period had declined �2.8m (4.0%) to �67.3m. Operating profit before amortisation of intangible assets and exceptional items at �2.6m was down �4.4m.

“Performance of the business has been adversely impacted by reductions in newspaper print advertising, driven principally by economic factors, government cutbacks and steep increases in input prices,” said Mr Jewson.

Newspaper and printing turnover, excluding acquisitions, was down 7.2% at �44.9m.

This was due principally to reductions in print advertising revenues which fell 13.2%.

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“The continuing success of our strategy to grow paid-for circulation volumes is evidenced by the growth in circulation revenues (up 1.0%) and, notably, three of our four daily titles and almost all of our paid for weekly titles outside London achieving paid circulation volume growth in the first half year,” said Mr Jewson.

Magazine revenues increased 2.8% to �22.3m with property advertising revenues up 11.9% and subscriptions revenue up 1.4%.

Total digital revenues grew 3.3% to �3.1m with digital display revenues increasing 10.9%. Unique visitors have grown by more than a third, to an average of 3.6m per month, in part attributed to the increasing use of social media.

Business development during the period include launching daily deals site, a group buying site for short breaks and the relaunch of the homes24 online property site working in partnership with Zoopla.

Mr Jewson said: “The economy remains fragile, and it is simply not possible to predict when an upturn may be seen, or indeed whether the UK economy will fall back into recession. But we continue to invest in the development of our people and new products whilst seeking to improve the efficiency of all our processes.”