'Another Year of Mixed Fortunes' for Herald Group of Newspapers, say Financial Results

The owner of The Herald, Evening Times and Sunday Herald newspapers has posted a 13 per cent fall in underlying earnings last year, according to a report in the business pages of The Herald yesterday.

Says the paper, earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, amortization, impairment charges, and restructuring costs at Newsquest (Herald & Times) fell from £12 million to £10.4 million in what was described as “another year of mixed fortunes”.

Turnover declined by seven per cent, from £63.1 million to £58.5 million, although internet advertising showed a 9.3% year-on-year improvement.

The Herald report points out: ”Directors of the company say in their report on the accounts for the 52 weeks to December 26 last year: ‘Government fiscal tightening in order to address the public sector deficit is expected to impact revenues negatively in 2011.'

“The directors report that, during 2010, the company ‘continued to make a series of cost reductions and restructured processes to mitigate the impact of the decline in revenue’.”

Herald & Times managing director, Tim Blott, is quoted, as saying: “2010 saw another year of mixed fortunes for the Herald & Times Group. It was a successful year for our internet business, s1, and our magazine division led by Scottish Farmer. Our printing business, based in Cambuslang, saw fluctuations in the contracts market but overall it came in ahead of expectation.

“Our newspaper division came under renewed pressure with falling revenue. Changes in the cost base helped to overcome some of the deficit but profits continued to drop year on year.”

Blott is further quoted, as saying: “I am grateful to all our staff for their effort and enthusiasm during a time of great change.”

The report ends by saying that, at the pre-tax level, profits fell from £9.58 million to £7.27 million and that exceptional restructuring costs amounted to £970,000 last year, up from £304,000 the previous year.

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