Independent News & Media has reported a 13.5pc increase in pre-tax profits spurred on by growth in advertising revenue against the backdrop of improving market conditions in the first half of 2015.
The media group, which owns the Irish Independent, The Herald, the Sunday Independent and Sunday World and Independent.ie, said that growth in total advertising revenue was 2.9pc year-on-year.
The pre-tax profit figure was €15.1m and was also boosted by cost management and lower interest rate costs.
Digital advertising revenue growth of 43.8pc more than offset a marginal decrease in publishing advertising revenue while total revenue was €157.3m, according to INM.
In addition the €119.3m proceeds of the sale of its stake in Australian media group APN were used to clear group debt reducing the interest charge from €3.1m to €1.9m – the company is now in a net asset position with strong cash reserves of €35.4m.
The sale of APN also contributed to a net exceptional gain of €45.4m in the first half.
“The first half of 2015 has been very satisfactory for Independent News & Media both from an operational perspective where we have seen a continued strong performance across our titles and from a financial perspective where we have made significant progress in addressing legacy balance sheet issues,” said chief executive Robert Pitt, chief executive at INM.
“During the period we disposed of our stake in APN which enabled us to clear the Group’s debt and now puts INM in a cash positive position which represents quite a change from the Group’s recent history. We continue to have very strong market-leading print titles across all categories and independent.ie remains the clear go-to news portal for Irish consumers. These results have been achieved through the hard work and commitment of our employees, for which we are very grateful.”
He added that any future investments by INM would be chosen very carefully as the company seeks further revenues streams for the business.
Recent figures show that the group has a reader-connect of 2.4 million each week in print and online.
Independent.ie remains Ireland’s top site for news, according to ComScore and is set to deliver over 1 billion page impressions in 2015 while growth in traffic and engagement across the group’s websites and apps continued throughout the first half.
Total page impressions across the titles grew by 20.7pc year-on-year to 625m in the first half while the relaunched independent.ie app has recorded traffic growth from 21m screen views in June 2014 to 55m in June 2015 – investment in digital continues, the company added.
In other developments, an editorial graduate scheme started earlier this month with practical training support supplied by London’s Press Association.
The second half has started well and we anticipate a full-year performance in line with expectations, Mr Pitt added.
– article via Independent.ie