Paper pressures

Reach slides as Mullen declares group ‘stronger’

Record and Express
Paper circulation revenue rose, but advertising fell

Daily Record and Daily Express owner Reach posted a fall in print and digital revenue but said cost cuts and a shift of focus had put the business in a stronger position.

It had settled issues over meeting its pension commitments and legal claims and that maintaining its full year dividend at 7.34p reflected the board’s confidence in the business model.

Adjusted operating profit slid 9% to £96.5m on a 5.4% fall in revenue to £568.6 million of which print revenue was down 2% to £438.8m and digital revenue was 15% lower at £127.4m. It said print circulation revenue was up 2%, though print advertising fell 12% to £86.9m.

Jim Mullen, chief executive, said: “This year we have successfully gained clarity on two significant long-term uncertainties in pension funding and Historical Legal Issues. With the end of these issues in sight, we have significantly reduced our obligations and have a clear path forward for the business.

“The success of our strategy also came to the fore this year. Despite the macroeconomic pressures, we have continued to build a stronger digital business with an increasing portion of much higher yielding revenues, reducing our reliance on the open market.

“At the same time, we have expertly managed our print business, maintaining circulation revenues as well as delivering necessary cost and efficiency plans across the Group.

“Together, all of these actions have put our business in a stronger position, so that we can continue to deliver great content to our audiences as well as returns for our shareholders.”

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