Scotland business

Profits slump for Johnston Press

Printing press
Image caption Johnston Press is cautious about the advertising outlook for the second half of 2011

Regional publisher Johnston Press saw pre-tax profits slump by nearly 50% in the first half of this year as advertising revenue fell sharply.

The Scotsman owner's interim results showed pre-tax profits fell from £26.1m to £13.8m, while overall revenue dropped by 7.5% to £191.8m.

Advertising revenue fell by 10% year-on-year, largely driven by a slump in jobs advertising.

The company made "significant" cost savings, including cutting 180 jobs.

Johnston Press said display revenues continued to perform "relatively well", while digital revenues fell 5% in the first half as "difficult employment conditions" hit online trading.

The Edinburgh-based group reported a good performance in digital display revenues, while its Find it business directory had shown strong growth since its launch in March.

The company said it remained cautious about the advertising outlook for the second half of 2011.

But the publisher added it was confident the group's performance for 2011 would be broadly in line with current expectations if there was no "further significant deterioration" in the UK economy.

Chief executive John Fry said: "We remain cautious about the advertising outlook for the second half of the year, with total advertising revenues in the first seven weeks down 8.1%.

"Digital revenues, which returned to year-on-year growth in May, have continued to grow in the second half, with the first seven weeks up 6.8% compared to the same period in 2010."

He added: "We are also delighted to be able to announce the new digital partnerships with Zoopla and Nimble which will enable a significant enhancement of our property website and the launch of a new online vouchers business in the autumn."

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