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INM 1st half earnings as expected

Thursday, August 28 10:12:50

Independent News and Media group this morning posted operating profit of E15.9m for the first six months of the year, in line with expectations and net profit that doubled from E6.9 million to E14.0 million.

Total Revenue for the period came to E157.8 million, marginally down on the same period last year.

The major restructuring in the media company that began last year and continues with its Digital First policy saw its Digital advertising revenue grow by 30pc, with significant ongoing digital investment, including new job creation.

INM said there was a net exceptional charge of E16.1m, which largely related to the company's non-participation in an equity issue by Australia's APN News and Media.

Year-on-year newspaper advertising trend continued to improve, with strong revenues from Recruitment in Ireland and from Property and Inserts.

Commenting on the results, Leslie Buckley, Group Chairman, said he was satisfied that the group's restructuring plans were making a difference.

"Following on from our very successful Financial Restructuring in 2013, the first half of 2014 produced a satisfactory set of results. I was delighted to recently announce the appointment of Robert Pitt as Group CEO. Robert's business background in retail and his change management experience make him an ideal person to lead INM into the next phase of its development."

"We continue to invest in our Digital business as we successfully roll out our strategy. This strategy revolves around our strong portfolio of market-leading national and regional brands, most notably, independent.ie, where our online audience doubled to 9.2 million unique visits in July 2014. In Northern Ireland, the BelfastTelegraph.co.uk website attracted 3.4 million unique visits in July, a 45pc year-on-year increase. We also purchased RecruitNI, strengthening our position in the important Northern Ireland online recruitment market. Digital presents a substantial opportunity for INM and is key to the future of the business," said Mr Buckley.

"The first half of 2014 showed some further positive signs in our print publishing business, as we experienced strong growth in recruitment (ROI) and property advertising. Our market-leading titles are well positioned to benefit from the expected return to growth in the Irish domestic economy."