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Celtic Media returns to profit

THE Celtic Media Group, which owns Cavan's 'Anglo-Celt' newspaper, the 'Offaly Independent' and 'Meath Chronicle', reported a profit after tax of €264,858 for the year ended December 31, 2009. That compared with a €1.427m loss the previous year.

That profit came despite turnover falling nearly €5m to €14.6m and gross profit slipping some €3.4m to €8.2m.

The return to profit was based largely on the reduction of bank loans and overdraft interest, which was halved to €1.503m. In 2008, Celtic Media paid €3.088m in loans and interest.

Staff levels were reduced by 41 to 138, with the bulk of those job losses coming in printing and production.

Salaries were down to €5.434m against €7.364m in 2008. Despite the return to profit, the directors described 2009 as a "difficult one" for the group.

Advertising revenue declined "significantly", driven by the "economic downturn and the impact this has had on the local economy in the regions in which the group operates".

The company has not yet been able to secure new bank debt facilities, but the auditors signed off on the company accounts as a going concern.

Irish Independent