Johnston Press reports £144m pre-tax loss

Johnston Press has reported a pre-tax loss of £143.8m for last year, after the struggling regional publisher took a £163.7m impairment charge on its publishing assets.

Ashley Highfield: chief executive of Johnston Press
Ashley Highfield: chief executive of Johnston Press

The loss compared to a £16.5m profit the previous year.

Revenues at Johnston Press, which is headed by former senior BBC and Microsoft executive Ashley Highfield, fell £386.7m to £351.7m in the period.

The publisher – whose titles include the Yorkshire Post, the Sunderland Echo and the Wigan Evening Post – is undertaking a major strategy shift under Highfield, in a bid to be better equipped in the digital age.

It is looking at raising the cover price of some of its 170 regional titles, as well as plotting to launch daily iPad apps for its bigger regional newspapers.

Highfield said:" Although the prospects for the economy remain downbeat in the short term, I believe we can return Johnston Pres to being a growth business through the twin-track approach of relaunching and revitalising our papers, while simultaneously growing our websites."

Along with the £163.7m write-down of its assets,  Johnston Press was also hit by an advertising revenue fall of 10.6% compared to the previous year.

Johnston Press said it was trying to offset this fall in advertising revenues by cutting costs across the business.

Follow John Reynolds on Twitter @johnreynolds10


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