Trinity Mirror pushes up national newspaper division’s half-year profits by 12% to £41.6m

Trinity Mirror’s national newspaper division has pushed operating profits up 12% to £41.6m in the first six months of this year – despite a 1% drop in revenue to £216.9m.

The company said the profit increase was the result of the “continued focus on driving efficiencies and reducing the underlying cost base of the business”.

Advertising revenues for its nationals divisions, which now also includes the Scottish Daily Record and Scottish Sunday Mail, fell 8% to £63.4m. However, circulation was up 0.3% to £121.9m.

Digital revenue rose 12.5% following the relaunch of Mirror.co.uk, with audience reach across its websites in June standing at 16m unique users and 74m page views.

Operating profit on Trinity Mirror’s regional titles, which include the Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo and Newcastle Evening Chronicle, was up 13% in the first six months of 2012 – again despite an 8% fall in revenue.

Regional operating profit had risen from £15m in the first half of 2011 to £16.9m in 2012. Over the same period revenues fell from £151.2m to £139.1m, with advertising down 12 % and circulation revenue down 4%.

Overall group revenue was down 4% to £356m but operating profit was up 12 % to £45.2m.

The integration of its Scottish operations into a new subsidiary called Media Scotland, and the creation of a seven-day publishing operation at the Daily and Sunday Mirror – which saw the departure of former editors Richard Wallace and Tina Weaver – has seen the company increase the target for structural cost savings for the year from £15m to £20m.

“Our ongoing focus on driving efficiencies and reducing the structural cost base of the business ensured that operating costs fell by £20m,” said Trinity in its half-yearly report.

Net debt was reduced by £40.3 million to £180.9m.

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