Thursday 18 January 2018

Irish Times seeks to cut €3.5m from costs within three years

Old Irish Times building
Old Irish Times building
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Staff at The Irish Times have been told that the newspaper group needs to save €3.5m over the next two to three years.

And as part of the drive to cut costs and restructure, the company is planning to lease out two floors at its headquarters on Dublin's Tara Street. It will also cease publication of its UK edition, it's understood.

A series of meetings are being held with staff to inform them of the plans, which will also include a hiring freeze.

They've also been told that the company - which employs close to 400 people - will intensify its focus on digital content.

It's believed that The Irish Times will target about €1.5m of the planned savings from payroll costs. It's thought that while there could be some voluntary redundancies, the majority of those payroll savings could be generated from natural attrition. The newspaper group has had two rounds of voluntary redundancies since staff moved to the Tara Street offices in 2006.

The Irish Times moved from its historic home on D'Olier Street that year, having sold its premises there for over €25m. The newspaper had been on D'Olier Street for 111 years.

The latest set of publicly-available accounts for the Irish Times show that its revenue fell 0.8pc to €86.9m in 2014. Its pre-tax profits more than halved to €2.1m that year from €5.4m in 2013. The 2013 result was boosted by a €2m exceptional gain, however.

Declining newspaper sales - a general feature of the sector - also dented the 2014 performance. Its circulation revenue fell 6.2pc in 2014.

The Irish Times noted that in 2014 its advertising revenue had risen for the first time since 2007, and that it also benefited from a contract to print titles for the Examiner group.

The company incurred a net exceptional cost of €500,000 in 2014, which included restructuring costs.

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