Johnston Press profits almost halved due to ad slowdown
PUBLISHER Johnston Press saw profits almost halve during the first six months of the year as it counted the cost of the slump in advertising in the UK and Ireland.
For the first half of the year the publisher, which counts the 'Kilkenny People' and the 'Leinster Leader' among its 12 titles in Ireland, reported a 47.4pc fall in pre-tax profits to £13.8m (€15.63m). That was despite revenue falling only 7.5pc to £191.8m (€217.3m).
Revenue from advertising dropped 10pc year-on-year with employment advertising showing the biggest category fall.
National display advertising grew, however.
Company chief executive John Fry blamed the economic downturn and the slump in advertising for the fall in earnings.
"The economic environment in the Republic of Ireland continues to be challenging, although the print advertising revenue decline in the first half reduced to 18.2pc down from 29pc in the first half of 2010," he said.
Consumer confidence remains low throughout the UK and Ireland and concerns continue over a further downturn in economic performance in the UK and the level of future GDP growth, the company warned.
Mr Fry said he remained "cautious" about the advertising outlook for the second half of the year, with total advertising revenues in the first seven weeks down 8.1pc. Digital revenues grew 6.8pc during the same period.
"The board has confidence that, in the absence of a further significant deterioration in the UK economy, the outcome for the group in 2011 will be broadly in line with current expectations," he concluded.
The results were broadly in line with market expectations. Johnston Press closed down 8.65pc in London.