Friday, August 28, 2009

The fall of Johnston Press continues unabated

Regular readers of this blog will note that I take a great interest in the fortunes of Johnston Press.

The reason is that from the start of my journalism degree at Uclan back in September 2006,their association with that university and the fact that their decline and fall has almost mirrored that of journalism.

They were held up as pioneers of the direction that the local newspaper industry was going,that it would survive only by the intervention of conglomerates and the rapid introduction of technology.

Well three years later a lot has happened,the departure of its chief executive,renegotiation of debt,speculation about selling titles and redundancies.

Today the group has released its interim results for 2009 which has seen its pre tax profits fall by 56.1 per cent to £27.5 million in the first six months of 2009.

During the same period revenues fell by 25.4 per cent while advertising revenues fell 32.7 per cent.

The debt ridden company has also announced a new three-year £485m financing deal.

Its chief executive officer,John Fry said:

"The timing of the economic upturn remains uncertain but advertising revenues are demonstrating greater stability and we expect the cyclical improvement when it comes to more than compensate any ongoing structural change. We will maintain our focus on costs and look to secure additional operating efficiencies during the second half of the year."

The folly of some of its acquisitions is also very apparent.These latest results showing a write down of £126m on its titles,that means that since January 2008 it has written off a massive £543.5 million.

Speculation is rife that the group will need to be slimmed down and over the last few days it has been rumoured that the group is looking to sell the Scotsman group.

So far it has reduced overheads through headcounts and what it describes as a centralisation of functions.

It will be interesting to see where this group goes from here

No comments: