Trinity Mirror must buck up its business performance, says Financial Times
The Financial Times has claimed that Trinity Mirror, the publisher of the Daily Mirror and Daily Record, is coming under pressure from major investors to improve its business performance.
In a lengthy analysis yesterday, the FT observed: “Trinity Mirror looks set for a rocky start to 2012 as its major investors have become increasingly unsettled by the group’s performance and lingering allegations of phone-hacking.”
Pointing out that Sly Bailey, Trinity’s chief executive, is expected to face tough questioning in the New Year by the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics, the FT quotes ‘one top five shareholder’ as saying: “She is definitely under scrutiny and coming under some pressure from her biggest shareholders.
“He added that if something damaging came out of the inquiry, the board would have to take action … ‘Integrity in newspapers is key’.
“This month Trinity appointed David Grigson, a former finance chief at Reuters, to be its new chairman. The move was unexpected and is being welcomed as a sign that the board can, once the Leveson Inquiry closes, tackle the company’s performance.
“Shareholders have long held Ms Bailey in their sights over her performance and pay package which last year totaled £1.4m ($2.2m) in spite of Trinity’s shrunken market capitalisation of £125m. One leading investor said: ‘[Sly Bailey] doesn’t appear to be doing a good job’.”
The FT pointed out that Trinity has seen its share price fall more than 30 % over the past 12 months - amid weak advertising and the migration of readers to the internet.
It quotes Alex DeGroote, of analyst Panmure Gordon, as commenting: “There is frustration at the speed at which things are happening in terms of shareholder returns, for example a buy-back or a dividend. “There is also frustration at the pace at which the regional newspaper industry is consolidating. We know Trinity would be a good consolidator ... there is a sense they are not quite making the most of it.”