City lauds DMGT Northcliffe sale as shares leap

DAILY Mail & General Trust (DMGT) saw shares soar yesterday as the publisher reported a 10 per cent rise in annual profits.

The company, best known for owning the Daily Mail newspaper, now sees four-fifths of its profit in its business-to-business (B2B) publishing division, after it sold off its regional newspaper division on Wednesday.

The deal, although well received, did not move DMGT shares on Wednesday, with the City awaiting yesterday’s annual results. But the leap in profits, combined with a £100m share buyback, sent shares up more than 10 per cent to their highest level in almost two years.

The rise in profit was down to a cost-cutting operation at Northcliffe, the regional newspaper arm DMGT hived off to David Montgomery’s new Local World venture, as well as continued strong performance at the B2B arm, which includes a stake in financial data group Euromoney.

Overall, the group reported a slight dip in revenue to £1.96bn, but a rise in profits from £232m to £255m.

Associated Newspapers, which runs the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, and Metro, saw revenues up two per cent, with falling newspaper ad revenues at the Mail papers boosted by the success of the Mail Online website and the Metro.

Chief executive Martin Morgan said that the success of Associated Newspapers was “particularly pleasing” given the “challenging trading conditions”.