Page last updated at 08:59 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Johnston Press profits fall sharply

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Johnston is one of the UK's biggest newspaper groups

The owners of the Scotsman and Yorkshire Post has seen full year pre-tax profits fall by 56% to £43m.

Edinburgh-based Johnston Press said the recession had had a dramatic effect on advertising revenues - down by 27%.

Johnston is currently testing whether to charge people to read content online in six areas and said it had not decided whether to roll the system out.

The company confirmed that Freddie Johnston, the last family member on the board, would leave on 30 April.

This means that there will be no family member on the board for the first time in 243 years.

Johnston is one of the UK's biggest newspaper groups and publishes hundreds of local papers and websites.

'Stronger position'

Advertising sales reached a low in the first three months of last year, with a 33.9% fall compared to 2008, with job and property adverts particularly badly hit.

However the company said it believed it had turned a corner with advertising revenues down just 11.2% in the last quarter of 2009.

Johnston said it had cut costs and reduced its debt by more than £50m.

The chief executive of the group, John Fry, said: "The year ended with the group in a much stronger position than it began: advertising is more stable; circulation trends have improved; digital revenues are growing; our cost base has reduced significantly and we have renegotiated finance facilities for three years.

"We are therefore well positioned to take advantage of any upturn as it occurs."



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SEE ALSO
Websites start charging for news
30 Nov 09 |  Business
Johnston Press reports 94m loss
28 Aug 09 |  Scotland
Scotsman talks 'in early stages'
24 Aug 09 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Banks grant Johnston Press time
29 Jun 09 |  Scotland

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