Sunday 23 October 2016

INM shares up as media group reports growth for the first time since Crash

Ailish O'Hora and Donal O'Donovan

Published 18/11/2015 | 02:30

Robert Pitt, CEO INM pictured with Leslie Buckley, Chairman Independent News & Media PLC [ right] during the INM PLC AGM in the Westbury Hotel.
Robert Pitt, CEO INM pictured with Leslie Buckley, Chairman Independent News & Media PLC [ right] during the INM PLC AGM in the Westbury Hotel.

Shares in Independent News & Media (INM) surged by close to 8pc in early trading yesterday, after the company reported its first increase in total revenue for eight years.

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The country's biggest media group, which owns news outlets including the Irish Independent, reported a 1.1pc increase in total group revenues for the January to October period.

In an upbeat interim management statement, the company said that total advertising revenue grew by 3.7pc. This was boosted by a 43.6pc hike in digital advertising, which helped offset a 1.2pc decline in publishing advertising sales.

The growth in pre-tax profits was in line with expectations while the 1.1pc growth in revenues was an improvement on the marginal decline of 0.3pc that had been announced in August.

Total group revenue growth has been partially delivered through new distribution contracts, including 'The Irish Times', the company added.

It said it is maintaining a tight leash on overall costs while investing in its digital strategy.

INM owns, the country's most popular news website as well as market-leading newspapers including the Irish Independent, 'Sunday Independent', 'The Herald' and 'Sunday World'.

Robert Pitt, chief executive of the group said: "Having come through a period of significant restructuring, INM is very happy to see this continuing positive performance in 2015. It is good to see that the growth in income is now expanded beyond advertising and circulation sales to also include distribution."

The company said in a statement that "there was a continuation of the positive performance in total advertising revenues, reflective of improved market conditions, INM's unique audience reach across the island of Ireland and a strong growth in digital revenues.

"A number of our advertising categories have recorded improved year-on-year revenues including property, magazines and features/supplements.

"Circulation declines year-on-year have lessened since the interim results, with the investment in product and increased retail activity in the third quarter, delivering this improved performance.

"INM continues to perform well in 2015 and we anticipate a full year performance in line with expectations. INM wishes to thank all of its employees for their ongoing hard work and dedication to the Group," the statement added.

Davy Stockbrokers upgraded its earnings forecasts for INM following the update.

"We now forecast EBIT of €37.5m in 2015 and €39.5m in 2016, a 3pc and 4.5pc upgrade respectively."

Shares in the Dublin-listed stock rose as much as 7.78pc to 17.80 cents each in early trading yesterday and finished the day up 3.03pc at 17.10 cents.

Irish Independent

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