Revenue drops for Johnston Press despite strong showing from the i

Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2018

He said: "We more than doubled profits at i, with circulation revenue up 20 per cent and advertising revenue up 27 per cent".

Total adjusted revenue fell 4.5 per cent to £201.2 million pounds (€233.1 million) in the year ended December 30th, with print advertising declining 7.2 per cent.

Adjusted classified advertising (print and digital) and other advertising revenue for the period was £31.2m, down from £43.6m in 2016, and represented 16 per cent of total adjusted revenue in 2017. The group said the latter was driven by a strong record of client retention and competitive wins for its Sheffield and Portsmouth print plants.

The group's pre-tax loss narrowed to £95m, from £300.7m in 2016.

Announcing the results this morning, Johnston hailed the "exceptional performance" from the i newspaper, which delivered delivered adjusted EBITDA of £9.3m. Its adjusted earnings (EBITDA) were also down 9 per cent on the previous year to £40.1m.

Addressing this in the annual report today, the company said: "Given the challenges faced by the newspaper and printing industry as a whole, the current trading experience of the Group, and the likely financial position of the Group at the time the Bonds are due for repayment in June 2019, there is material uncertainty surrounding the Group's ability to refinance the Bonds at par in the market on commercially acceptable terms".

For the first quarter of 2018, Johnston Press said it has trading in line with management expectations; however the trading environment has remained challenging, and pressure on revenue is expected to continue, as well as the requirement for cost savings, it said.

"It said: "... We are focused on maintaining our strong margins, driving additional growth from i and realising further operational and financial synergies.

Chief executive Ashley Highfield said: "Our vision remains constant - to be at the heart of our communities, providing accurate, relevant and timely news and information - free of proprietorial influence".

He added that while "the debate is ongoing", the group will only update on the situation when it has "something concrete" to share.

Shares in Johnston Press were untraded at 8.86 pence on Tuesday.