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Reach reports improved FY profits despite lower revenues

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Monday 24 Feb 2020

Reach reports improved FY profits despite lower revenues

(Sharecast News) - Print and digital publisher Reach posted some improved profits for 2019 on Monday despite witnessing a decline in full-year revenues.
Reach said adjusted pre-tax profits increased 6.1% to ?150.6m in the twelve months ended 29 December, while statutory profit before tax, which included one-off items, came to ?120.9m - a marked turnaround from the loss of ?119.9m recorded a year earlier.

However, revenues eased 3% to ?702.5m despite the Express and Star newspapers making a full-year contribution for the first time since being acquired in mid-2018.

Group like-for-like revenues dropped 5.3% year-on-year, while digital revenues, on the other hand, rose 13.2%.

While investors remain critical of Reach's pension deficit, the London-listed firm said it had made progress in reducing the shortfall - narrowing it by ?52.7m to ?295.5m.

Reach also proposed a 7.4% hike in its final dividend to 4.05p - making its full-year dividend 6.55p.

Since the period end, Reach said it had performed in line with management's expectations and set itself an ambitious target of having seven million registered online users by the end of 2022, a sharp increase when compared to the less than one million it had at the end of 2019.

Chief executive Jim Mullen said: "2019 was a year of good operational and solid financial progress with record growth in audience numbers, consistently good cash generation and a strong balance sheet.

"This, along with unparalleled scale, underpins our drive to build an intelligent, relevant and trusted content business for the long term whilst continuing to deliver for our stakeholders."

As of 1025 GMT, Reach shares were down 2.06% at 171p.


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