Shares plummet at newspaper publisher "triple-hit" by Brexit vote

William Turvill
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Ashley Highfield's Johnston Press bought the i from ESI Media earlier this year

Newspaper group Johnston Press’s share price plummeted 16 per cent today as the company reported falling revenues and profits.

The publisher of the Scotsman, Yorkshire Post and, since earlier this year, the i newspaper has been “triple-hit” by the UK’s Brexit vote, according to its chief executive Ashley Highfield.

Read more: Johnston Press shows signs of a turnaround

The company’s share price fell to 11.5p today, having crashed down from 27p on 23 June and 115p at the same time last year.

Johnston Press Johnston Press | mobile image

“I think undoubtedly small-cap companies with debt and an exposure to the UK solely have been triple-hit by Brexit,” he told City A.M. “We would drop as a greater percentage because you’ve got to look at our enterprise value, which includes the debt. And as a percentage, our enterprise value – debt plus equity – has fallen by a far lower percentage… In terms of actual value, it’s dropped by a couple of million quid.”

The company reported a 10 per cent year-on-year fall in revenue to £113.9m in the first half of 2016, a 12.5 per cent fall in earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) and a pre-tax loss of £12.3m.

Read more: Johnston Press flogs Isle of Man titles for £4.25m

Johnston Press bought the i from ESI Media for £24m earlier this year.

Highfield said the publisher’s newspapers have experienced an uplift in circulation as a result of the EU referendum. He added: “Interestingly, particularly with the i, that hasn’t fallen off since.”