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Record owner Reach to close two printing plants

Record and Express

Print sales continue to fall

Newspaper group Reach, publisher of the Daily Record, Express and numerous local titles, has announced closure of two of its print works as sales continue to fall.

The company said it has recently announced plans to consolidate its printing operations to achieve further efficiencies.

“A consultation on these proposals, which would involve closure of two of its six printing sites, is ongoing.”

In a trading update for the five months to 22 November it reported a decline in print revenue of 19.6% which contributed to a 13.9% fall in group revenue. Digital revenue grew 16.2%.

The group expects these trends of strong digital growth and resilient circulation to continue into December, while recognising that the current macroeconomic uncertainties make forecasting more challenging.

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The operating margin in the second half is expected to be materially ahead of the first half.

The Group completed the acquisition of the remaining 50% in Independent Star on 24 November, bringing the number of newspapers it publishes in Ireland – North and South – to eight, plus one female lifestyle magazine (RSVP) and six online titles (Irishmirror.ie, Dublin Live, Cork Beo, Belfast Live, RSVP Live and Buzz.ie).

The group has continued to generate healthy levels of cash during the period and is forecast to retain a strong positive cash position at year-end despite incurring one off cash costs associated with the transformation programme and other historical items.

Jim Mullen, chief executive, said: “The headwinds from COVID-19 have been considerable, but while we remain mindful of potential impacts from the current lockdowns, we approach the end of the year with a strong and growing digital business, resilient print circulation sales, and a new, efficient operating model.”

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