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INM opens voluntary severance scheme





Independent News and Media, Ireland's largest media group, has launched a voluntary severance programme for its editorial and advertising staff.

The launch of the scheme is the second in the last two years.

The business has been hit with €2.5m of exceptional costs including for historic libel actions and costs associated with the aftermath of a high-profile board-level dispute between chairman Leslie Buckley and CEO Robert Pitt.

The dispute is the subject of an independent review commissioned by the board as well as a separate investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement following a complaint made to the corporate watchdog by Mr Pitt.

Last night, INM informed staff that the programme, which runs until October 9 next, will be open to employees in the advertising and editorial departments. The company, which did not comment on the cost-cutting scheme, has informed staff that each application will be considered on its individual merits and accepted or rejected by the company in line with the company's business objectives and depending on skills and experience required by the function and classed as 'critical' to the business.

There has been a sharp drop in profits in the first half of the year by INM which publishes the Irish Independent, the 'Sunday Independent', and independent.ie.

INM's profit before tax fell by 19.5pc to €14.9m in the first six months of the year.

Revenue fell 8.4pc compared to the same time last year to €148.1m for the six months.

The group ended the period with a cash balance of €95.7m and INM benefited from a deal with pension trustees to wind up its defined-benefit pension schemes.

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