Profit up by a fifth at publisher of Irish Daily Star

However, Independent Star warns of ongoing risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic

Copies of the Irish Daily Star are seen for sale in newsagents in Dublin. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Copies of the Irish Daily Star are seen for sale in newsagents in Dublin. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

 

The publisher of the Irish Daily Star newspaper increased profits by more than a fifth last year but the company has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic poses ongoing risks to its business.

In accounts filed with the Companies Registration Office for the financial year ended December 27th, 2019, Independent Star said its profit for period after tax amounted to €972,313, which was up from €794,654 the year before.

Dividends of €1,150,000 were paid during the year, which were up from €950,018 the year before.

Gross profit was down from €5.9 million in 2018 to €5.7 million last year. Turnover was also down from €16.1 million to €14.8 million. Operating profit, however, was up from €923,857 to €1.1 million.

The company had net assets of €653,219, which was down from €830,906 at the same point the year before. It had cash at bank and in hand of €1.9 million, which was down from €2.1 million.

Elsewhere, staff costs came down from €4.1 million to €3.9 million as the number of employees dropped from 78 to 72.

The directors’ report identifies the Covid-19 pandemic as a going concern risk, and says the directors have already taken various actions to secure the business.

These include an employee health and safety plan, forecasted cash inflows and outflows for the coming 12 months, and cost cutting measures.

The cost cutting measures include adjustments to pagination, reallocation of distribution schedules, removal of discretionary spend, and appropriate renegotiations with suppliers.

“Based on this analysis and all information at present, the directors believe the company has sufficient liquidity to meet its obligations,” the directors note.

“The global markets have experiences and may continue to experience significant volatility resulting from the spread of a novel coronavirus known as Covid-19. It is still not possible to reliably estimate the length and severity of this outbreak and hence its financial and economic impact.

“The outbreak of Covid-19 has resulted in travel and border restrictions, quarantines, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, lockdown of economic activity and general market uncertainty.”

Earlier this year, Reach, the British newspaper publisher formerly known as Trinity Mirror, agreed to buy the 50 per cent stake in Independent Star it did not already own for an undisclosed sum.

The company is purchasing the stake from Independent News & Media (INM), with the deal expected to be completed later this year, subject to it receiving competition approval.

In the Irish market, Reach publishes the Irish Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People, while it also owns RSVP magazine and the websites dublinlive.ie and rsvplive.ie.