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O'Brien's Communicorp posts €4.4m profit for 2012


Denis O’Brien

Denis O’Brien

Denis O’Brien

NEWSTALK owner Communicorp has posted a €4.4m profit for 2012.

Profits at the radio conglomerate dipped last year as the company dealt with sliding revenues but cut debt and strengthened its balance sheet.

In Ireland, the business posted sales of €35.2m.

Communicorp Group Limited is wholly owned by businessman Denis O'Brien and operates 19 radio stations in Ireland, Bulgaria, Latvia and Jordan.

Accounts just filed for Communicorp Group Limited and Subsidiaries show that for the year to the end of 2012, the company posted operating profits of €4.4m, down from €6.6m a year earlier.

The drop came on the back of a 9pc dip in revenue to €58.2m, mainly driven by the sale of businesses in Finland, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

Those sales brought in a profit of some €6.3m.

Overall, the company made a profit, excluding exceptional items, of €3.9m compared to a €359,000 loss in 2011.

Including a non-cash impairment charge of €39m, Communicorp posted a final loss of €35m for the year.

The company controls a number of radio stations in Ireland, including Today FM, Newstalk 106-108, and 98FM.

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While revenues fell, Communicorp slashed its bank borrowings by €11.8m in 2012, and the firm says it has paid off a further €9m of bank borrowings so far this year.

In their review of the business, the Communicorp directors said management "remained focused on tight cost control and working capital management".

"Through this continued focus on cost control by management, the group maintained strong operating profits . . . despite the reduction in overall activity and revenue."

"These management actions have provided the group with a firm platform for future growth," the directors added.

Communicorp operated some 39 radio stations during 2012 in Ireland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia and Jordan. It sold 22 stations during the year, and since the close of 2012 has also disposed of its stations in Hungary.

The accounts show that Communicorp's staff numbers were little changed in 2012, with 612 employees compared to 626 previously.

Payroll costs were lower in 2012 at €19.5m – a drop of some €366,000.

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