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Lenders defer Johnston tests

JOHNSTON PRESS, the regional newspaper publisher, yesterday reached a deal with its lenders to postpone by two months the testing of its covenants, which had been due on 30 June.<br /><br />These tests will now take place on 31 August, after the company holds talks with lenders over the refinancing of its facilities. <br /><br />Earlier this year, Johnston, which publishes the Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, said it had cut its net debt by &pound;29m to &pound;448m since the beginning of the year, but warned that operating profit for 2009 would be at the lower end of market expectations.<br /><br />The company also scrapped plans to sell its Irish titles, saying it hadn&rsquo;t received a suitably high offer.<br /><br />Johnston added that advertising revenues for the first five months of 2009 were down 34.4 per cent on the same period last year. <br /><br />Johnston has been cutting costs and is combining the editorial operations of the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday to save cash.