Johnston Press revenue down but trading 'in line with expectations'

Slightly lower than the group's 2016 earnings of £43.9m, the group said that the performance was "in line with expectation", according to its financial results for 2017.

Adjusted revenue at the group was £201.2m, down 4.5pc year-on-year, however up 1.8pc excluding classifieds.

Revenue for newspaper publisher Johnston Press went down by nearly 10 per cent in 2017, its results released today have shown.

In print, advertising revenue dropped 20.1 per cent, partly due to the sale of its Midland's and East Anglia titles.

The i newspaper, which was acquired by Johnston Press in April 2016, delivered a "significant profit improvement", the group said, with adjusted EBITDA of £9.3m in its first full year.

The trading environment remained "challenging", Johnston said, as publishers continue to be hit by advertisers increasingly moving on to online platforms like Facebook.

The media company, housing titles such as "The Scotsman", "The Yorkshire Post" and "i", reported revenue from continuing operations in 2017 dropped by 9.5% to GBP201.6 million from GBP222.7 million in 2016, due to a 20% year-on-year drop from print advertising revenue, compared to a 8.1% rise in digital advertising.

"Classified advertising remains weak, but is now a significantly smaller portion of the group accounting for just 13 per cent of revenues in the quarter, following our investment in digital and the i".

Johnston Press said it had traded in line with its expectations in the first quarter of 2018, with higher adjusted core earnings.

"Comparatives do get harder and we expect to see continued pressure on revenues, and the requirement for cost savings", the company added. "During 2018 we will continue to selectively invest in the business, with a focus on digital, journalists, and content generation".

Chief executive Ashley Highfield praised the newspaper's "exceptional" performance and said the relaunch of the Saturday edition, in September previous year, had led to a 4 per cent increase in sales.

"The strategic review of financing options is ongoing and discussions with our various stakeholders are progressing".

Shares in Johnston Press were flat today at around 8.9p.

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