Wednesday 15 August 2018

Johnston Press shares hit new low

Johnston Press, which owns more than 200 local and regional newspapers in Britain including 'The Scotsman' and 'The Yorkshire Post', said trading had been 'extremely challenging' in the first five months of the year, with revenue down 9pc. (PA)
Johnston Press, which owns more than 200 local and regional newspapers in Britain including 'The Scotsman' and 'The Yorkshire Post', said trading had been 'extremely challenging' in the first five months of the year, with revenue down 9pc. (PA)

Justin George Varghese

British regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press said European changes to data privacy rules were hitting its online advertising revenue, hammering its shares and threatening the one area of reliable growth for the industry.

Its stock plunged 17pc yesterday in early trading to a new record low.

Johnston Press, which owns more than 200 local and regional newspapers in Britain including 'The Scotsman' and 'The Yorkshire Post', said trading had been "extremely challenging" in the first five months of the year, with revenue down 9pc.

It has been reviewing its finances and is in talks with bondholders to refinance £220m (€252m) in bonds due on June 1 next year.

It said no agreement has yet been reached and talks were continuing.

"The trading environment remains extremely challenging, exacerbated in recent months by uncertainty around future paper costs and the impact of GDPR on digital advertising revenues," it said.

Britain's newspaper industry has struggled for more than a decade as advertisers and readers moved online, forcing several print publishers including the owner of the 'Mirror', now called Reach, and the 'Daily Mail' to slash costs.

Reach shares fell nearly 4pc yesterday and the 'Daily Mail' group was down almost 1pc.

Johnston Press has been trying to restructure.

The company bought 'i', the cut-price national sister paper of 'The Independent' website, two years ago to tap into its circulation revenue and advertising base. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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