Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), owners of Metro and MailOnline, announced revenue was down one percent to £1.1bn this morning as it continues to feel the impact of the pandemic disruption..
Paul Zwillenberg, chief executive, defined it as a “historic year” for DMGT, and the results signify its last as a public company.
He said: “From a financial and operational perspective, DMGT delivered a creditable performance in the year. Our Property Information businesses delivered strong growth, supported by particularly high residential property transaction volumes in the UK.”
“In Consumer Media, we saw good revenue and profit contribution growth from MailOnline and a solid performance from the Mail print titles driving profit contribution growth for the Mail businesses as a whole. Unsurprisingly, the commuter newspaper Metro and our Events business continue to be significantly impacted by the pandemic.”
The group announced “substantial losses” at free newspaper Metro as its former commuter readers continue to largely work from home. This contributed to an operating loss of £6m, up £3m from last year.
Looking ahead, DMGT said it will continue to invest, “prioritise organic opportunities” and utilise tech. This is likely to mean job cuts, and reshuffles.
Just this week, chief executive Kevin Beatt stepped down, with Rich Caccappolo, the current chief operating officer of the Mail Online as his replacement.
Another important backdrop for these results is the upcoming privatisation of the group, where chairman Lord Rothermere would have full control of DMGT.
Principle shareholder Lord Rothermere finalised a complex £3bn deal to take DMGT private on 3 November and investors have until 16 December to approve or reject it.
Analysts at Citi Research said the debate now lies in whether the current share price is too cheap given the offer that is on the table from Rothermere, and whether there is any chance that he may be persuaded to raise the offer or the deal even to fail to go through.
Citi said: “Fundamentally we are Neutral, but we think the deal will proceed and there is optionality on a sweetener which suggests that the risk/reward at DMGT tilts positively.”
Analysts at Citi concluded: “There are multiple moving parts given the disposals but on an underlying basis the stronger than expected FY21 results suggest upward pressure to consensus forecasts.”
Shares are currently down 0.54 per cent to 1112p on the London Stock Exchange.
More to follow