Independent News & Media's 2013 revenues down 6.6%

Thursday 13 March 2014 17.42
Independent News & Media says its print advertising revenue continues to fall, albeit at a slower rate that previously
Independent News & Media says its print advertising revenue continues to fall, albeit at a slower rate that previously

Independent News and Media has reported operating profits of €32.7m for the year to the end of December.

That is in line with 2012's performance and was achieved despite a 6.6% fall in revenue to just over €322m.

Shares in the company closed over 15% higher in Dublin trade this evening.

The company said it reduced its net debt by €327m to €95.3m after a massive restructuring operation, which included the sale of Independent News & Media South Africa, a restructuring of its Irish defined benefit pension schemes and a share placing last December.

The group said it continued to see growth in online readership, where advertising revenue was up.

But its print advertising revenue is continuing to fall, albeit at a slower rate that previously.

INM said that total print advertising during the year fell by 11.5% to €73.1m. It said that with the exception of property advertising, all print categories were down on 2012 levels. 

INM said that its total digital advertising revenue rose by 12% to €9.3m, with most of this growth due to "Grabone", the company's daily deals site. Similar to the trend in print advertising revenue, digital advertising revenue also saw an improving trend in the second half of the year.

In its results statement, the company said that its directors are not proposing a dividend for 2013. There was also no dividend paid or declared in respect of 2012.

During 2013, the company reduced its operating costs by €22.7m or 7.3% despite a net investment of €2.4m in its digital operations in the second half of the year. It described its digital offering as a central element of its growth strategy. 

The company's outgoing group chief executive Vincent Crowley said that 2013 was a "defining year" for Independent News and Media. 

"The group's balance sheet has been significantly restructured and INM now has the capital structure to support our continued repositioning and ongoing digital investment programme. In addition, we continue to reduce operating costs and deliver additional efficiencies across the business, so that INM is well positioned to benefit from Ireland's improving macro-economic performance in the years ahead," he stated. 

"Despite these encouraging trends, visibility remains short and forecasting in the current trading environment is difficult. INM is well positioned, however, with a well invested asset base, an increasingly efficient cost base and a strong and growing digital offering to convert any improvement in trading conditions into an improved financial performance," its CEO said.