European media firm Mecom predicts a profit slump thanks to advertising lows

LOW ADVERTISING revenues have dragged profit down at Mecom, the European publisher which saw profits sink by €5m (£4.2m) in the second half of 2011 compared to the same time last year.

However, this sum is significantly less than the €10m profit decline Mecom expected to see, leading to estimated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of €144m.

The company cited “continuing turbulent economic conditions and lack of consumer confidence” for its deteriorating advertising sales, which fell 18 per cent in Poland and 12 per cent in the Netherlands in the fourth quarter of last year.

Mecom’s consistent subscriber base, which accounts for more than 80 per cent of its circulation revenue, helped the total group revenue to remain mostly consistent, falling by just one per cent.

The sale of Mecom’s Norwegian division Edda Media to publishing and broadcasting corporation A-Pressen, which is set to complete in the first quarter of this year, will reduce the company’s net debt by about €190m from its current position of over €300m.

Shares jumped five per cent to £2.20 in yesterday’s trading, up 11p from £2.09.