Year of growth for Archant

REGIONAL media company Archant, whose titles include the East Anglian Daily Times, has announced an increase in operating profits for 2007, despite an “uncertain” economic outlook.

REGIONAL media company Archant, whose titles include the East Anglian Daily Times, has announced an increase in operating profits for 2007, despite an “uncertain” economic outlook.

Chairman Richard Jewson said strengthening advertising revenues, continued progress in the magazines business and tight cost control had contributed to a 3.4% increase in operating profits to £30.5million for the 12 months to December 31, despite the sale of the company's Scottish titles during the year to Johnston Press.

Strong cash conversion and the disposal proceeds from the Scottish titles resulted in net debt falling from £54.8million at the start of the year to £36.9million at the year end.

Archant's regional newspaper and printing operations saw “modest” profit growth of 0.9% while profit from magazines and contract publishing grew by 16.1%.


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On a like-for-like basis, total revenue grew by 3% to £189.6million

Online activities saw revenues almost double to more than £2million and monthly unique visitors across the company's websites increased by 53.1%.

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During the year, Archant sold its Scottish newspaper titles while adding to its regional activities in Cambridgeshire with the acquisition of two titles, Agenda and Property Plus.

The Archant Life magazine business also continued to expand through acquisition, adding West Essex Life and Living Edge magazines, based respectively in north-west Essex and southern Manchester, and WeddingLink, a publishing and exhibition business located in Cheshire.

Despite the strong results in 2007, Mr Jewson said: “The outlook for 2008 is uncertain with a weakening of advertising in the final quarter of 2007 continuing into 2008.

“Despite these uncertainties we anticipate that our magazine business will see continued growth and that we will be able to build further upon our on-line developments.”

Archant is the UK's largest independently-owned regional media business, employing around 2,600 people. Its portfolio includes four daily newspapers, 70 weekly papers, around 80 monthly consumer, contract and regional magazines and more than 130 websites.

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