Daily Mail owner warns on UK news market

DMGT, the media group behind the Daily Mail and Metro newspapers, has posted a 14 per cent fall in pre-tax profit for the year to 2 October, but said its underlying performance showed a three per cent improvement.

The FTSE 250-listed company said its statutory pre-tax profit was £125m but the underlying value was £237m once controlled for discontinued items and conference programme differences year-on-year.

DMGT said revenues were flat at £1,990m for the year as its business to business division, which includes brands such as Euromoney Institutional Investor, saw sales rise eight per cent or 10 per cent on an underlying basis.

Profits in the international b2b business were up 13 per cent on an underlying basis, DMGT said.

But chief executive Martin Morgan warned that the UK market was under pressure and trading conditions were “challenging”.

“Our UK consumer businesses have been impacted by the weak advertising environment, particularly in the third quarter, and higher newsprint costs resulting in profits down 20 per cent for the year,” he said.

“Whilst first quarter trading to date has been reasonable, we remain cautious about the medium term outlook, given continuing external uncertainties, particularly for UK advertising.”

Its Associated Newspapers arm was stable, but Northcliffe Media, its local newspaper advertising business, continued to suffer with revenues down 10 per cent.

DMGT sold a number of units during the year, including George Little Management, RMSI and Sanborn, and bought the Ned Davis research group to further bolster its international and b2b presence.