Media group Archant reports positive start to the year

Archant chairman Simon Bax.

Archant chairman Simon Bax. - Credit: Archant

Media group Archant, whose titles include the East Anglian Daily Times, has reported a positive start to the year with modest like-for-like growth in revenue.

In a letter to shareholders reporting on Archant’s performance during the first six months of 2015, chairman Simon Bax said that profits were ahead of budget and the previous year, despite a difficult industry background.

Mr Bax said: “Our plans to make the core of the business robust are progressing well.

“Our half-year financial performance gives us every reason to be positive for the second half of the year; however, the general environment for local media companies remains challenging.”

He added: “The One Archant strategy is bearing fruit. The core of the business is performing well, there are fewer barriers to change and clarity in reporting lines means that there is less duplication.

“With greater ability to implement Archant-wide initiatives and thus maximise the value of our total portfolio, the company is seeing significant benefits in both co-operation and morale.”

Advertising revenues in the first half, though marginally down on last year – less than 1% in newspapers and 3% in magazines – were ahead of industry trends.

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Circulation revenue grew in the first half in newspapers, partly because price increases on the group’s daily titles more than offset circulation declines, and in magazines, where circulation revenues improved, particularly after increases in the availability of a number of key titles. Digital revenues also grew in the first half of the year.

Activity during the first half included the sale of three magazines, English Home, English Garden and Discover Britain, where Archant did not believe it could attain market leadership, and progress in plans to sell offices no longer suitable for purpose in Ipswich and Ilford where staff are due to move to more appropriate rented properties nearby.

Archant chief executive Jeff Henry said: “We have had a good first six months of the year against challenging conditions.

“Congratulations should go to all of our colleagues for a great team effort in out-performing our industry peers and setting the company firmly in the right direction.”