Newspaper publisher Johnston Press revenues continue to fall

William Turvill
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Dwindling Newspaper Sales Echo Through Economy
Johnston Press publishes around 200 regional and local newspapers (Source: Getty)

Newspaper publisher Johnston Press’s share price fell five per cent this morning after it reported continuing falls in its revenue.

The figures

Johnston Press, which owns around 200 regional newspapers and bought the i earlier this year, said turnover in the 17 weeks to 29 October was down 5.1 per cent on the same period last year.

Group revenue was down 3.2 per cent in October, meanwhile, which is an improvement on a fall of 9.9 per cent in the first half of the year.

Read more: Struggling newspaper group Johnston Press set for activist investor meeting

The addition of the i, bought from the publisher of the Independent and Evening Standard for £24.4m, to its stable helped boost circulation revenue, which was up 18.8 per cent year-on-year in the period and 22.5 per cent in October.

Digital advertising revenues fell in the 17 weeks by 2.8 per cent, though Johnston reported 8.4 per cent growth last month.

Total advertising revenue – including print – was down 6.8 per cent over the period as a while and 3.5 per cent in October.

Why it’s interesting

Johnston Press’ share price has been battered this year. This morning, it fell five per cent to 13.15p – down from more than 60p this time last year.

Johnston Press Johnston Press | mobile image

Read more: Johnston Press shows signs of a turnaround

Explaining the share price drop over the summer, Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield told City A.M.:

I think undoubtedly small-cap companies with debt and an exposure to the UK solely have been triple-hit by Brexit. 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.

What the company said today

We remain focused on cutting costs to mitigate revenue declines and the impact of sterling weakness on paper prices, and assuming no further deterioration in trading conditions, the board expects performance to continue in line with expectations.

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