Saturday 21 September 2019

Sunday Business Post publisher in €520k loss

Conor Kileen, chairman of Key Capital. Photo: David Conachy
Conor Kileen, chairman of Key Capital. Photo: David Conachy
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

The company behind the 'Sunday Business Post' newspaper swung to a pre-tax loss of just over €520,000 in its last financial year, according to newly filed accounts.

The figure, covering the 12 months to the end of June last, followed a pre-tax profit of €5,529 the previous year.

The newspaper has been put up for sale by its owners Key Capital following an "unsolicited expression of interest" in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Corporate finance advisers were hired "to evaluate the interest received and to determine the options available".

The accounts, signed off by the directors on May 14, state that the sales process is still ongoing "with no definitive conclusions being reached". Irish-American investor Liam Lynch has been tipped as a possible buyer, as has Columbia Ventures Corporation, the owner of Irish telecoms business Magnet Networks.

"The board and management remain committed to ensuring that the company continues to provide the highest quality product to our wide range of clients and consumers," the accounts state.

The accounts are for Post Publications Ltd, which describes its principal activity as publishing the 'Sunday Business Post' newspaper. It was shifted under a parent company called Sunrise Media, as part of a merger with printing business Webprint.

Revenue at Post Publications fell 5pc to €7.13m during the period. The company is operating in a challenging market for print newspapers, with downward pressure on circulation and advertising as more and more readers get their news online.

The accounts state that the company "incurred costs implementing a number of cost-saving initiatives during the year, including a change in management". Veteran newspaper executive Paul Cooke departed as chief executive and was replaced by commercial director Siobhán Lennon.

The accounts also state that the company "continued to invest in its growth areas - digital subscriptions and conferencing". "The benefits of these investments (restructuring, digital and conferencing) are evident since the end of the period under review."

The company is also sitting on an unrecognised deferred tax asset of €216,196 arising from the carry-forward of losses. The accounts state this will be recognised "once it can be regarded more likely than not that there will be suitable taxable profits to utilise these losses".

Key Capital bought the newspaper out of examinership in 2013. The investment company is chaired by Conor Killeen, a former chairman of NCB Stockbrokers.

Irish Independent

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