Operating profit at INM up 3.8% so far this year
Decline in circulation and advertising offset by rise in online revenue and reduced costs
Independent News and Media chief executive Vincent Crowley. The rate of decline in advertising revenue at the company has slowed in the period since June. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
Independent News and Media has reported a 3.8 per cent rise in operating profit so far this year, compared with the same period last year.
In an interim management statement for the 41 weeks to October 11th, the company said advertising revenue had shown an improvement in performance since the beginning of June, with decline slowing to 8.1 per cent year on year in the period, compared to a decline of 14.6 per cent in the first six months.
Online revenues also performed well, increasing by 18.2 per cent since July, compared to 8.2 per cent in the first six months, resulting in an 11.9 per cent growth in the year to date.
Overall circulation figures fell 4.7 per cent in the period.
Losses were offset by an 8.3 per cent reduction in operating costs in the year to date, leading to a 3.8 per cent increase in operating profits.
The company said the Irish economy still faced challenges, but consumer sentiment had improved, property prices were stabilising and forecasts were indicating economic growth for next year.
“The improving outlook for the Irish economy should also benefit from the upcoming budget which is now expected to be less severe than originally forecast,” the statement said.
The company reported “substantial progress” in its debt restructuring agreement with its lenders, announced in April.
The restructuring has involved the sale of Independent News and Media South Africa for 2 billion Rand (€148 million) , and a restructuring the group’s defined benefit pension schemes, resulting in an estimated reduction in their pension deficit of €110 million.
The company said its digital strategy is evolving to capitalise in a 78 per cent increase in the number of global visitors to its website in the past year to over 5.9 million, and a 59 per cent increase of page impressions to over 64 million.
“The development of new products and services, closely tied to customer demand and preferences, in order to drive revenue growth, will be delivered across multiple platforms with a particular focus on tablet and mobile,” the statement said.