Archant back in the black despite revenue declining by 4.7%

Archant, the regional publisher, made an operating profit of £600,000 in the first half of 2013, up from a £900,000 loss a year earlier, despite turnover declining by 4.7 per cent year on year to £63.3 million.

Archant: regional publisher records operating profit of £600,000
Archant: regional publisher records operating profit of £600,000

The regional newspaper publisher announced in an interim statement that its operating profit before ammortisation of intangible assets and exceptional items was £3.5 million, up by 80.9 per cent following cost reductions of £4.5 million.

Richard Jewson, the chairman of Archant, said he was "pleased" with the financial performance, but said that despite evidence of a strengthening economy, the company has "not seen this in the consumer markets which we serve".

He said: "There is much comment that green shoots of recovery are becoming visible. As yet we see little evidence that this is building confidence among our customers.

"Business improvement will continue to take place by our own efforts as past initiatives become established and new ones are introduced."

Jewson said performance was "relatively strong" for Archant's Anglia and Lifestyle business, with declines of less than three per cent since last year, but said that trading in London, where its magazines face more competition, was "more challenging".

He added that digital revenues in all divisions had increased overall by 18 per cent since the same period last year.

Jewson said: "We will continue to pursue the strategies set out to transform the business and we anticipate the group performance for the full year will be in line with target and well ahead of 2012."

An HM Revenue & Customs tax dispute could leave the company with a £13 million bill, accumulated over the past decade.

Jewson said the matter involved "complex matters of interpretation and judgment" and said the company was "continuing to engage with correspondence with [HMRC] which we expect to continue in the coming months".

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