Johnston Press back in black

Steve Dinneen
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EMBATTLED Scotsman owner Johnston Press breathed a sign of relief yesterday as it limped to its first profit since 2006.

The Scotsman owner arrested its declining revenue amid a remarkable turnaround in the advertising market.

Total advertising income fell by 6.3 per cent after plummeting 18 per cent during the darkest days of the advertising drought in 2009.

But stringent cost cutting in the wake of the financial crisis allowed Johnston to post a first-half pre-tax profit of £26.1m on revenue of £207.3m.

Chief executive John Fry said: “These industry leading trends along with our continued focus on costs, efficiencies and debt reduction, give the board confidence, in the absence of a further deterioration in the UK economy, that the outcome for the group in 2010 will be in line with current market expectations.”

The results follow a remarkable recovery for advertising giant WPP, which saw first-half profits jump 36 per cent.