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Profits slump 10pc at publishers of 'Irish Daily Mail'

PROFITS at the publisher of the 'Irish Daily Mail' and 'Irish Mail on Sunday' slumped last year, its company accounts revealed yesterday.

For the year to October 3 2010, Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited made a profit after tax of €1.15m on revenue of some €18.9m. Turnover was down almost 3pc from €19.4m in 2009 but profits dropped nearly 10pc year on year from €1.34m.

Retained losses stood at €64.3m at year's end.

The newspapers have been working through a difficult environment for the industry as readership and advertising have stagnated across the industry. The most recent circulation figures for the 'Irish Daily Mail' showed a small increase of less than 1pc to 49,389 but the Sunday paper saw circulation fall 1.4pc to 110,326.

Last month, shares in parent company Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) slumped after reporting a 35pc fall in profit at its regional arm Northcliffe Media Group, which controls over 100 regional newspapers in the UK.

"We remain cautious about the outlook for the full year due to the volatile and uncertain market conditions faced by our UK consumer business, where advertising revenues for April and the first three weeks of May have been below last year," said DMGT chief executive Martin Morgan.

DMGT said trading had been sluggish during the second half of its year and not even the royal wedding had led to an uptick in trading.

"The nervous consumer and retail market is expected to continue throughout the summer," the company said.

Associated's results came as News Corporation head James Murdoch warned that consumers were "very fearful" about the economic environment. Speaking at an advertising conference in Cannes, Mr Murdoch said that while he regarded his own business as "very healthy", he felt that consumers were "very nervous" about the macro economic environment.

News Corporation controls a number of publications, including the 'Times' of London, the 'Sun' and the 'News of The World'. Mr Murdoch, who is considered the heir apparent to his father Rupert's media empire, also hinted his firm's move to takeover the remainder of Sky in the UK would not be the end of his its expansion.

Irish Independent