28/08/2009

Belfast 'Tele' Reports News Of Losses

Two of Northern Ireland best-known newspapers are making significant losses.

They are each being forced to 'report' their own bad news stories as both the world's oldest English language title, the Belfast News Letter and the Belfast Telegraph are suffering plummeting revenues.

The 'Tele' is owned by Independent News & Media which has suffered a loss with advertising revenue not expected to recover this year.

It made a pre-tax loss of €48.5m (£42.7m) for the first six months of 2009, compared with a €96.6m profit in the first half of 2008.

The company warned that its full-year earnings would be at the bottom end of current expectations.

Advertising revenue was down 19.6% in the period and no recovery is expected in the second half of the year.

"The group's current forecast presumes a continuation of poor advertising markets to year-end, with no material pick-up from the trend experienced in the first half," its statement said.

The Dublin-based company, whose titles include the Belfast Telegraph, was supposed to have repaid a €200m bond in May and has been rolling it over since then.

It is also due to repay €50m of bank debt in September.

As a result of the losses, the company said it would not be paying an interim dividend.

The News Letter publisher, Johnston Press, has also seen a decline in advertising in the recession.

Its advertising revenues shrank 32.7% in the first half of the year, with recruitment and property advertising particularly hard hit.

The firm, which also owns the weekly Times series that covers the whole of Northern Ireland, is also the publisher of the famous Scotsman, the Yorkshire Post.

It has cut another 439 jobs to take its workforce down to 5,969, having already laid off 15% of its staff last year.

It reported a six-month pre-tax loss of £94.2m, compared with a loss of £53.7m in the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile, UTV Media in Belfast has also 'posted' a sharp drop in pre-tax profits for the first six months of the year, blaming the ongoing slump in advertising revenues.

The company, which owns the Northern Ireland ITV franchise and more than 20 radio stations in the UK and Ireland, said pre-tax profits for the period were down 30% to £7.8m and group operating profits dropped 29% to £11m.

Revenue is down 10% to £54.5m compared with the first half of 2008.

UTV's television division saw operating profits fall 61% from £4.7m to £1.8m with TV ad revenue down 23% in the first six months to £14m.

(BMcC/GK)

Related Northern Ireland Business News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

05 March 2019
Bavarian Belfast Named BMW Retailer Of The Year
Agnew Group's Bavarian BMW dealership in Belfast has claimed the prestigious accolade of Retailer of the Year at the German car manufacturer's awards. Held in Lisbon, the retailer awards saw 11 of the UK's best franchises recognised, but Bavarian BMW in Belfast secured the top spot on the night.
09 August 2001
European markets battered by US fall
Europe’s battered stock markets slid further on as further gloomy news on the US economy emerged. Early morning trading on Thursday 9 August saw the FTSE Euro 300 slip back around 17 points hovering at 1,300.
17 October 2018
Cruise Belfast Celebrates Record Breaking Year
Belfast Lord Mayor, Deirdre Hargey, has congratulated Cruise Belfast on an award-winning, record-breaking year in 2018. Wednesday, 17 October marks the end of an award winning cruise season for Cruise Belfast – the partnership between Belfast Harbour and Visit Belfast – with the arrival of the final ship of the year, the 'Black Watch'.
05 May 2005
Mixed results posted by Trinity Mirror group
There was mixed news today from Trinity Mirror plc as the newspaper group reported that advertising revenues had dipped by 1.4% in the last two months. At today's Annual General Meeting the Chairman of Trinity Mirror plc, Sir Victor Blank said that while the group's advertising revenues had risen by 2.
19 September 2002
UTV buck ITV downward trend as profits increase
Ulster Television has announced a slightly increased profit of £7 million for the period ending June 30 2002, thanks in part to a 0.3% television advertising increase to £19.1 million.