Recent ad sales improve Trinity Mirror forecasts

TRINITY Mirror yesterday upgraded its profit forecast for the year after an unexpected pickup in the advertising market in recent weeks.

The newspaper publisher had expected operating profits to be lower than last year’s £104.5m. However, a November uptick, including an marketing blitz from 4G provider EE, pushed Trinity Mirror to say it expects similar profits to 2011.

The news drove shares in the company, which plummeted last month as it was dragged into the phone hacking scandal, up more than six per cent yesterday.

Lawyers for four individuals including former England football manager Sven Goran-Eriksson, alleged two weeks ago that Mirror journalists had hacked into the celebrities’ voicemails, widening a controversy that had previously been focused on Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Yesterday, Trinity Mirror boss Simon Fox said the company had not yet received the claims, and said he had asked lawyers to demand details.

Meanwhile, the firm announced results for the 17 weeks to 28 October, which showed a 12 per cent year-on-year fall in ad revenue and a 16 per cent fall in circulation. Fox put much of this down to a tough comparative 2011 period, when the News of the World – the Sunday Mirror and People’s major competition – had closed. It has now been replaced by a Sunday edition of the Sun.

Group revenue was £223m in the period, down 11 per cent on last year.