INM profit falls 6pc

City A.M. Reporter
Publishing group Independent News & Media posted a six per cent year-on-year fall in operating profit for the first half of the year, despite cutting costs and paying back debt, after advertising and consumer markets remained "remarkably tough."

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

INM said pre-exceptional operating profit for the six months to 30 June fell to 34.5 million euros (£30.3m), reflecting a 7.3 per cent year-on-year fall in underlying advertising revenue and 2.1 per cent dip in circulation compared with last year.

"General advertising conditions still remain tough and volatile. Visibility has not improved since our AGM in June and continuing uncertainty over the response to the euro zone debt crisis continues to constrain advertising and consumer spending," chief executive Gavin O'Reilly said in a statement.

"As a result, we are not anticipating any material advertising uplift or normalisation in advertising conditions before the year-end."

The group is targeting full-year operating profit in the range of 78m euros to 83m and INM Chief Financial Officer Donal Buggy told Reuters in an interview he expected advertising to fall by four per cent for the year as a whole.

Buggy added the group would be targeting a similar debt pay-down in the second half as the first, when it reduced its debt pile by £21.5m euros to 452.1m.