INM profit up despite tough climate

 
City A.M. Reporter
Publishing group Independent News & Media posted a 14 per cent rise in full-year underlying operating profit and said it expected earnings to grow this year despite tough market conditions.

The Dublin-based group, nearly 50 per cent owned by former bondholders, is focussing on media businesses in Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia after selling its flagship title the Independent as well as interests in India to help secure its future.

With economic growth subdued, INM said it was not expecting any material boost to advertising this year, but a slimmed-down group and a tough line on costs should help grow profits.

"Assuming more normalised advertising conditions, easier comparatives, continued cost vigilance and having eliminated loss-making businesses, we are targeting a further improvement in operating profit for the year," chief executive Gavin O'Reilly said in a statement.

"This, coupled with accelerated free cash flow generation, will ensure further, meaningful deleveraging in 2011."

On an underlying basis, excluding disposals and the deconsolidation of Australia's APN News & Media ( in which INM holds a 32 per cent stake, operating profit reached 87.9 million euros (£77m) compared with 77.2m in 2009.