INM profits tumble in "challenging conditions"

LONDON - Independent News & Media's UK operations, which include The Independent newspaper, saw pre-tax profits tumble by 26.9% year on year in the first half of 2008.

O'Reilly: INM set to achieve forecasted full year profits
O'Reilly: INM set to achieve forecasted full year profits

The company, controlled by Sir Anthony O'Reilly, INM group chief executive, said UK revenues totalled €115.6m (£92.2m) in the first half, down from €134.6m (£107.3m) in the same period in 2007. Pre-tax profits came in at €4.7m (£3.7m) in the first half of 2008, down from €7.3m (£5.8m) a year earlier.

INM said the results came in against a background of challenging trading conditions and poor consumer sentiment. The company did not detail advertising revenues at its UK operation, nor did it give any guidance for ad revenues over the rest of 2008.

It did, however, flag up that The Independent will move to new full-colour presses in September, making them more competitive in a market which has seen circulation declines across the board.

INM added that it is determined to further reduce costs in the second half of 2008, through greater use of synergies, technology, outsourcing and new streamlined work practices.

Across the group, including its operations in Ireland, Australasia and India, INM revenues were down 3.7% to €780.4m (£622.5m).

Looking ahead, O'Reilly said: "The current economic climate presents a challenge to all media companies throughout the world. It also presents opportunities, not least the potential for joint ventures, shared investments, mergers and divestments which may change perceptions of the structure and nature of media.

He added: "While it is difficult to forecast advertising revenues reliably for the second half - as we have only experienced the two traditionally quiet summer months - trading in the next three months leading up to Christmas, will be critical in determining the full year result.

He added: "However, as second half comparators are easier and, assuming a continuation of the first half advertising trends, INM believes that it will achieve profits in line with consensus forecasts for the full year.

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