Trinity sheds a third of its ad revenues

TRINITY Mirror said yesterday that group revenues fell 18 per cent in the first 17 weeks of the year, dragged down by ad sales falls of 30 per cent.<br /><br />The Daily Mirror publisher gave a cautious outlook for the full year &ndash; but said it expects the combination of cost savings, operating efficiencies and robust circulation revenue to deliver &ldquo;positive cash flows&rdquo;.<br /><br />Advertising revenues from its portfolio of more than 140 regional titles were worst hit, dropping by 36 per cent &ndash; with classified advertising in recession-hit sectors such as recruitment and property falling by more than 50 per cent. Trinity&rsquo;s national division fell 17 per cent over the period, while digital revenues fared slightly better, falling 13 per cent.<br /><br />&ldquo;We expect the rate of decline to ease as we go through the remainder of the year as we benefit from weaker comparatives,&rdquo; the group said &ndash; an assumption that is supported by 2009 ad spend forecasts by advertising agency ZenithOptimedia (below).<br /><br />Circulation remained relatively robust, dropping by 4 per cent.<br /><br />Trinity, which is led by chief executive Sly Bailey, said that it continues to operate &ldquo;comfortably&rdquo; within its debt covenants &ndash; and that net debt had stabilised at &pound;388m.<br /><br />The publisher said that it remains on track to deliver its target of &pound;25m cost savings and that this, coupled with stable cash flows and committed financing &nbsp;&ldquo;will help to support profitability&rdquo; in the recession.&nbsp;