Business Irish

Saturday 25 February 2017

INM 'to use strong balance sheet to make acquisitions' - chief executive

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

INM chief executive Robert Pitt
INM chief executive Robert Pitt

USING its strong balance sheet to make acquisitions is the best way to build value for Independent News & Media’s (INM) shareholders, chief executive Robert Pitt said today.

Speaking at a well-attended annual general meeting at the Westbury Hotel in Dublin, Mr Pitt said targeted acquisitions will diversify the media group’s revenue base for the future.

Revenue at INM rose last year for the first time in eight years, shareholders heard at the meeting, which was chaired by senior independent director Jerome Kennedy. Total revenue grew strongly at INM in the first four months of this  year, boosted by its distribution arm.

“We are back in growth,” Mr Pitt said. 

The business faces challenges in a “positive way,” he said.

However, advertising revenue suffered a decline in the early part of 2016, he said.

The four months to the end of April saw continued strong growth in digital advertising revenue, but not enough to fully offset an accelerated decline in print advertising revenue, INM said in a trading statement ahead of the AGM.

“The challenging market conditions against which INM achieved a strong performance in 2015, have, as anticipated, continued into 2016 with the print advertising market experiencing ongoing volatility,” INM chairman Leslie Buckley said in a note read to shareholders.

INM is Ireland’s leading media business, publishing titles including the market leading Irish Independent, Sunday Independent and independent.ie.

Management believes the group continues to outperform the market in both advertising and circulation categories and continues to grow its market share, the company said.

INM Group said it continues its focus on cost management and has identified savings to offset the decline in print revenue.

The business has also said it is also actively in the hunt for acquisitions to diversify its revenue base.

“INM has shaped itself into a business that moves decisively and effectively and will continue to grow market share in the print business, embrace the digital opportunities through independent.ie, the leading online news offering in Ireland, and utilise our strengthened balance sheet to acquire businesses that will strengthen and diversify our offering and create shareholder value,” the company said.

In guidance INM’s board said it anticipates profit before tax performance for the full year to be within the range of market expectations.

Shareholders backed all motions at today's agm, including the re-election of all executive and non executive directors. 

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