DMGT sales dip but profits leap a fifth

Steve Dinneen
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DAILY Mail & General Trust (DMGT) battled a sharp dip in sales to pull off a 20 per cent rise in first-half operating profit.

The Daily Mail publisher credited improving advertising trends and severe cost cutting measures for the positive results.

Its adjusted operating profit was £144m, beating market expectations of £142m.

Revenue fell three per cent on an underlying basis to £974m for the six months to 4 April, broadly in line with estimates of £982m.

Its portfolio of around 100 regionals weathered the storm blighting the industry, experiencing a nine per cent drop in revenue to £150m but seeing operating profit rise to £14m.

It said advertising momentum in the UK was improving and regional advertising should move into growth in the second half, unless a new downward trend emerged.

In the second quarter, national ad revenues rose 11 per cent and regional ad sales fell five per cent. Property advertising rose one per cent but all other categories fell, with recruitment down 24 per cent. It cut net debt slightly to £1.02bn.

Chief executive Martin Morgan said: “The strong half year results reflect our focus on execution as well as the benefits of DMGT’s diversified international portfolio.

“Whilst we remain cautious about the outlook, particularly in the UK, we are increasingly well positioned to weather current economic uncertainties and to take advantage of improved conditions as they materialise.”