Mediahuis Ireland Group, the company behind the Irish Independent and many other Irish news titles, made a €13.4 million after-tax profit last year, accounts just filed at the Companies Office show.
The swing to a profit from a loss of €9.4 million the previous year came mainly as a result of the company reversing an impairment of its investments.
Turnover at the company, which is owned by Antwerp-headquartered European news publisher Mediahuis, fell 28 per cent to about €7.17 million.
The accounts show that an exceptional credit of almost €13 million recorded in 2022 comprise a €9.9 million net reversal of an impairment on its investments and a €3 million net reversal of a provision made against receivables.
Both took place following “a review of the recoverability of intergroup investments and receivables”, the company said.
This contrasted with exceptional costs of €9.8 million in 2021.
Mediahuis Ireland – which also publishes the Sunday Independent, Sunday World, Belfast Telegraph and several regional titles – has been led since August 2022 by chief executive Peter Vandermeersch.
Before that, he served as publisher of the company, which was previously known as Independent News & Media (INM). Mediahuis acquired the group in 2019. At the time, it was a publicly listed company and Denis O’Brien was its biggest shareholder.
In September this year, former INM executives Gavin O’Reilly and Karl Brophy settled a claim for damages against the company and its former chairman Leslie Buckley over an unlawful breach of their data when Mr O’Brien was the main shareholder.
Mediahuis described the settlement, the terms of which were confidential, as a resolution of “legacy issues” inherited as part of its acquisition of INM.
A note in the group accounts states that the company is co-operating with ongoing investigations relating to a protected disclosure made by former INM chief executive Robert Pitt. It has not made a provision for future costs associated with the matter, but said it “may result in the company incurring material costs”.
Mediahuis – which also operates in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany – made an operating profit of €155.7 million in 2022, down 6.3 per cent, while its net result was €65.3 million, down 45 per cent, according to figures published earlier this year.
In January, Mediahuis closed its last remaining Irish printing plant – in Newry – and moved entirely to contract printing, with Mr Vandermeersch later confirming that the company plans to move away from printed news products over the next decade.