INM posts €18.5m profit as firm eyes digital acquisitions
Independent News & Media (INM) has reported a profit before tax of €18.5m for the six months to the end of June 2016.
The company’s cash balance at the end of June was €62.4m.
The first half figures show overall revenues grew by 2.7pc in the period to reach €162m.
“Despite a challenging trading environment, the group performed well in the first half of 2016, with profit before tax growth of 22.5pc to €18.5m. However, underlying operating profit growth of 3.1pc better reflects the challenges the industry and INM face,” said chief executive officer Robert Pitt.
Directors said they are not proposing to make a dividend payment in 2016.
The company’s growing cash pile is earmarked for investment back into the business, including targeted acquisitions of digital business seen as enhancing INM’s future growth prospects.
The publisher of market leading titles including independent.ie, the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent reported increases in revenues, profits, margins and assets for the period.
The cash balance rose even after the impact of the weaker sterling and the use of funds for deals to buy Northern Ireland based publisher Greer Publications and the 50pc stake in CarsIreland.ie not already owned by the business.
Profits were bolstered by growth in digital advertising revenue which was up 23.4pc at the end of June compared to a year earlier, as well as a €2.2m cut in interest costs following repayment of INM’s former debts, and a significant decrease in operating costs.
Digital advertising revenue helped offset a 7.8pc decline in print advertising and the ongoing decline in print circulation.
Shares in INM closed unchanged yesterday at 14 cents each, ahead of the results.
The increase in profits reflects a drop in borrowing costs and strong growth in both digital advertising and INM’s distribution business in particular, the company said.
Operating costs fell significantly in the period, due to the closure of printing operations in Belfast, integration of print and digital newsrooms and the wind down of GrabOne, a coupon and discounts business.
After a strong first half the pace of growth in INM’s Newspread distribution business is expected to slow in the second half of the year, because the comparison period in the second half of 2015 already included new contract signings with clients including The Irish Times.