Independent news profits tumble

City A.M. Reporter
Publishing group Independent News & Media posted a 26 per cent year on year fall in operating profit in the first six months of the year that saw changes to the ownership of the company and senior executives resign.

Telecoms billionaire Denis O'Brien tightened his grip on INM earlier this year by increasing his stake to 29.9 per cent, pressuring chief executive Gavin O'Reilly into resigning and leading a shareholder revolt that also ousted the company's chairman and finance chief.

O'Reilly's departure ended his family's 30-year control of Ireland's largest media company and years of bitter squabbling between O'Brien and the O'Reilly family.

New chief executive Vincent Crowley said the to-ing and fro-ing took place against the backdrop of a tough six months for the group.

"The first half of 2012 offered no respite from the difficult trading conditions in which INM operates. Weak economic conditions prevailed in Ireland, while the South African economy experienced multi-year lows in both consumer and business confidence," Crowley said.

"Early trading in the second half suggests a continuation of the trends experienced in the first half. Forecasting operational performance for the latter half of 2012 is challenging as visibility is very short term."