31/07/2003

Trinity Mirror seek buyer for NI papers

Newspaper publishing group Trinity Mirror are to dispose of its Northern Ireland publishing interests as the group strives to protect the business against falling regional and national sales.

Trinity Mirror will also cut 550 jobs as part of a restructuring programme aimed at saving the group around £25 million a year by 2005.

In a statement released today Trinity Mirror confirmed that the Belfast News Letter, the oldest newspaper in the group’s business portfolio is to be “sold off along with the other North of Ireland papers the Derry Journal and the Donegal Democrat”.

The division to be hived off comprises the Derry Journal and Century Press & Publishing businesses which publish six titles in Northern Ireland and three titles in the north of the Republic of Ireland.

Century publishes The News Letter in Belfast, the Belfast News and Farming Life, while the Derry arm publishes the Derry Journal, the Donegal Democrat, the Donegal People's Press, the Letterkenny Listener, the Foyle News and the City News.

Trinity Mirror said that the titles, amongst the oldest in Ireland had “performed strongly”, but it had been decided that the Northern Ireland newspaper division was a “non-core to the group's business operations”.

Announcing the cuts in the six-month strategic review of the company, Trinity Mirror Chief Executive Sly Bailey said that they were aimed at producing a “stronger and better performing company”.

Ms Bailey confirmed that the national Daily Mirror would be adopting a “popular journalism” policy, which is at odds with editor Piers Morgan’s harder edged stance on news.

Trinity Mirror currently publishes around 250 regional newspapers.

(SP)

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