Profits fall at Archant

REGIONAL media business Archant has announced a fall in operating profits for the year to December 31, 2008, against a background of continuing economic uncertainty and declining advertising revenues in all major categories.

REGIONAL media business Archant has announced a fall in operating profits for the year to December 31, 2008, against a background of continuing economic uncertainty and declining advertising revenues in all major categories.

Archant, whose titles including the Evening Star, saw turnover from ongoing operations fall by 9.2per cent to �174.0million, compared with �191.6million in 2007.

Total operating profits fell by 27.1pc to �22.2million, against �30.5million the previous year, despite a 6.4pc reduction in operating costs.

In a preliminary statement to shareholders, chairman Richard Jewson identified significant declines in recruitment and property advertising revenues in the group's newspaper business and in property and display advertising in its Life magazines as contributors to the decline in operating profits, although these were offset by progress in the development of on-line activities and revenue.

On-going newspaper and printing operations saw a 31.8pc decrease in profits to �16.2million, while magazines and contract publishing saw profits down 17.9pc at �5.8million.

However, online activities saw revenues increase by 51.1pc to �3.8million, driven by the further development of jobs24.co.uk and on-line display advertising.

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Mr Jewson said: “We expect the difficult trading conditions, which have deteriorated through the last few months, to continue for 2009 and beyond. It is impossible to know the timing and extent of any recovery and difficult to foresee the shape and scale of our industry in the years ahead.”

Archant's annual general meeting takes place on Thursday, April 30 at the Assembly House in Norwich.

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