Page last updated at 08:50 GMT, Friday, 28 August 2009 09:50 UK

Johnston Press reports 94m loss

Johnston Press
Johnston Press said there were signs ad revenue was picking up

Newspaper group Johnston Press has reported half-year pre-tax losses totalling £94.2m.

The publisher of the Scotsman, Yorkshire Post and Belfast Newsletter has suffered badly from a drop in advertising revenues.

But the group insisted there was some indication that things were getting better.

It also said it had cut 439 jobs to take its workforce down to 5,969, following a 15% reduction last year.

Johnston's half-year losses were almost double the £53.7m seen this time last year.

We will maintain our focus on costs and look to secure additional operating efficiencies during the second half of the year
John Fry
Johnston chief executive

The Edinburgh-based group said it had now written down the carrying and goodwill value of its titles by £543.5m since the beginning of last year.

Johnston chief executive John Fry said: "The timing of the economic upturn remains uncertain but advertising revenues are demonstrating greater stability and we expect the cyclical improvement when it comes to more than compensate any ongoing structural change.

"We will maintain our focus on costs and look to secure additional operating efficiencies during the second half of the year."

It said the "material uncertainty" concern highlighted earlier this year had now been removed after securing a refinancing deal with lenders.

'No sale'

Last week Johnston Press denied it was planning to offload assets after a group of Scottish businessmen said talks about a bid to buy The Scotsman were at an early stage.

The group bought the 192-year-old paper in 2005 for £160m, but it is now thought to be worth about £40m.

Scotsman executive editor Bill Jamieson told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "I understand that there were exploratory discussions on it but the gap between the two sides on price was just too wide to take these further."



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Johnston Press shares fell by 40%
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Scotsman editor resigns from post
20 Feb 09 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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