Business Post company records €526,000 loss for 2019

Group sees ‘immediate and negative impact’ of Covid-19 on advertising and events income

Business Post: income from circulation and digital subscriptions performed well, but other revenue was hit by the pandemic.

Business Post: income from circulation and digital subscriptions performed well, but other revenue was hit by the pandemic.

 

The company behind the Business Post newspaper recorded a pretax loss of about €526,000 in 2019, a year in which it rebranded its main title, revamped its digital products and acquired a number of magazines.

In a note accompanying the 2019 accounts for Post Publications, the directors said the Covid-19 crisis had since “severely disrupted” its 2020 business plan, but that it was “cautiously optimistic” that its underlying activities would break-even or achieve a modest profit for the year.

The directors said the company’s parent undertaking expected to be in breach of certain financial covenants as of the date of approval of the accounts and over the forthcoming 12 months, but added that its bank lender had shown “continued support for the company, as evidenced by acceptance of non-compliance with certain covenants to date”.

Government subsidies

The pandemic prompted the company to cut costs and avail of Government subsidies after “an immediate and negative impact” on advertising revenues and income from its events business.

“However, income from circulation and digital subscriptions performed well as the public sought out high-quality fact-checked journalism.”

The accounts period represents the Business Post’s first full year under new ownership after it was bought by businessman Enda O’Coineen’s Kilcullen Kapital Partners.

The loss in 2019 compares with a profit of almost €30,000 in the 18 months period to the end of 2018, during which it was sold by former owners Key Capital.

The directors said the trading loss for 2019 was “primarily driven by one-off costs and investment”, with exceptional items accounting for almost €359,000 of the loss.

In late 2019, the Business Post Media Group acquired a portfolio of magazines, including Irish Tatler and Food & Wine, from Irish Studio and it now distributes new versions of these titles free with the Business Post.

Pre-Covid performance

The directors said it had seen “early signs of a step change” in the group’s financial performance in the months before the arrival of Covid-19. While it is “not immune” to declines in print circulation and advertising, the company “continues to maintain market share”, the accounts state.

Its turnover of €7.14 million in 2019 was in line with the €11.3 million figure recorded in the 18-month period to the end of 2018, while its headcount increased by 10 over the year to 74 as of the end of 2019.

The media group is led by chief executive Colm O’Reilly, while Richie Oakley has been editor of the Business Post since mid-2019.

Some €50,000 was spent on a rebrand that saw the title drop “Sunday” from its masthead in November, 2019, almost exactly 30 years after the newspaper was founded by Damien Kiberd, Aileen O’Toole, Frank Fitzgibbon and James Morrissey.