Johnston sees signs of ad revenue declines easing

Regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press said yesterday that the slide in advertising revenue hadslowed, and that it was on track to meet profit expectations for the year.<br /><br />The Edinburgh-based firm said that advertising revenue in the first 18 weeks of the second half had fallen 22 per cent, an improvement on the 33 per cent plunge in the first half. <br /><br />&ldquo;Recruitment advertising had got consistently poorer since the start of the year, whereas property started to see more encouraging signs in the second quarter,&rdquo; said chief finance officer Stuart Paterson.<br /><br />The Scotsman publisher said more stable ad revenues and cost savings of up to &pound;50m would help it deliver an operating profit in line with market expectations for 2009 of about &pound;62m. <br /><br />Analysts had been hoping for a rights issue at Johnston, but Paterson said that a new three-year debt facility would enable to firm to pay down maturing debt.