Trinity Mirror to axe 550 jobs

Newspaper publishing group Trinity Mirror are to shed 550 jobs and dispose of its publishing interests in Ireland as part of a restructuring programme announced today.

Trinity Mirror Chief Executive Sly Bailey said that the restructuring plan would be primarily aimed at "bolstering the group’s national titles". The cuts are expected to realise a cost saving for the group of around £25 million a year by 2005.

Ms Bailey said her vision for Trinity Mirror was to “unlock its hidden potential for growth”.

She said: “The actions I am putting in place will transform our business so that its value as a whole is undeniably more than the sum of the parts. I am confident that we will achieve our objective of creating a fundamentally stronger and better performing company."

Trinity Mirror’s half-year profits, also announced today, were 2.6% up on the same period last year, up from £78 million to £80 million. However, the group’s turnover in the period dropped 1.4% down from £553.6 million to £551.5 million.

In a statement, 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 northern papers - the Derry Journal and the Donegal Democrat.

The Ireland division comprises the Derry Journal and Century Press & Publishing businesses which publish six titles in Northern Ireland, including the regional morning paper the News Letter and three titles in the north including the Derry Journal and the Donegal Democrat.

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.

Ms Bailey also 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.

Sir Victor Blank, Trinity Mirror Chairman of Trinity Mirror, said: "The Group has performed well against a difficult external environment. Our priority in February was to improve the earnings growth in 2003 and we are on track to achieve this."

He said that Ms Bailey had made “a very important contribution in the last six months and has breathed new life into the business". He added that the Board was enthusiastic about the plans and the progress being made.


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