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Daily Mail owner sees annual revenues slip

By Abigail Townsend

Date: Thursday 05 Dec 2019

Daily Mail owner sees annual revenues slip

(Sharecast News) - Daily Mail and General Trust has reported a dip in full-year revenues and profits, days after snapping up the i newspaper in a £50m deal.
The parent group of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Metro newspapers reported a 1% decline in revenues to £1.4bn and a 21% fall in pre-tax profits to £145m. Operating profit was flat at £144m.

However, chief executive Paul Zwillenberg pointed to a stronger underlying picture, with revenues up 2% and underlying cash operating income 10% higher.

"DMGT has delivered a robust financial performance," he said. "Consumer media outperformed the market and there was a mixed performance across our business-to-business business, consistent with our expectations.

"We have continued to deliver significantly against our three strategic priorities of increasing portfolio focus, improving operational execution and maintaining financial flexibility."

Over the last three years, DMGT has sought to refocus its portfolio of assets. To date it has halved the number of sectors it operates in to five; shifted from 40 operating companies to just eight; and reduced debt.

Zwillenberg added: "We will continue with our active portfolio management approach, focusing on those assets that have the potential to drive good returns through strong cash flow generation and growth in capital value. We are now in the next phase of the group's transformation, optimising our business through targeted and disciplined investment."

DMGT announced at the end of November that it had agreed to buy the i newspaper and website from JPI Media for £49.6m. Zwillenberg said the acquisition "demonstrates the opportunities we have to have to invest in high quality, content-led businesses with a compelling strategic and financial rationale".

The consumer media business reported a 3% rise in revenues, to £672m. The Daily Mail - the UK's highest circulation weekday newspaper - and Mail on Sunday saw revenues fall 4% to £406m, but MailOnline reported a 14% surge, to £140m. Free title Metro also saw revenues rise, by 11% to £79m.

The company said it would continue to focus on growing digital advertising revenues to help offset "anticipated underlying print advertising declines". It continued: "The advertising market continues to lack visibility and conditions are likely to remain volatile. Circulation volumes are expected to continue to decline."

Revenue in DMGT's B2B arm fell 4% in the year to 30 September, to £738m. DMGT said the performance reflected growth in EdTech, Insurance Risk and Event and Exhibitions, which was "partially offset by a decrease in Property Information, which continued to experience challenging market conditions in the UK, and Energy Information". The numbers were further hindered by disposals during 2018, it added.

Overall, DMGT said group revenues in 2020 were expected to be "broadly stable on an underlying basis".

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