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Guardian Media Group sees threefold surge to bottom line after Trader Media sale

The sale of Guardian Media Group’s (GMG) stake in Trader Media Group earlier this year has led to a threefold increase of the group’s reserves to £842.7m according to latest financial figures, a figure CEO Andrew Miller said will “sustain our finances for generations to come”.

Results: Guardian Media Group's annual figures are out

Guardian News and Media (GNM) reported a huge surge in pre-tax profits as a result of offloading its 50.1 per cent stake in Trader Media Group, which owns titles such as Auto Trader, for £619m in March to Apax Partners. The sale left GMG's balance sheet sitting at £842.7m.

Meanwhile GNM recorded another rise in digital revenue in 2013/14 while losses continued to fall. Digital revenue increased by almost a quarter (24 per cent) to £69.5m, while online traffic went up from 78.3 million in March 2013 to 102.3 million in March this year as the Guardian’s digital presence continued to expand.

Group revenue increased from £196.8m in 2012/13 to £210.2m this year, although operating losses sat at £19.4m. However, losses were less than last year (£26.6m) and were the latest fall in a steady decline in losses in recent years.

Andrew Miller, GMG chief executive, said: “We successfully completed the divestment of Trader Media in a transaction that will sustain our finances for generations to come.

“This significant deal has coincided with an encouraging increase in underlying revenues, particularly from digital activities.

“In the current year, we must focus relentlessly on reducing underlying operating losses at Guardian News and Media, which continues to be impacted by the volatile trading conditions and structural changes sweeping the newspaper industry.”

The year brought editorial success and acclaim following the publication of the Snowden revelations about state surveillance and spying by America’s NSA and the UK’s GCHQ. In March this year, the Guardian was named Newspaper of the Year at the UK Press Awards and In April the title won the Pulitzer Prize. In June, it won Website of the Year at the Online Media Awards.

The title expanded its coverage globally with the launch of Guardian Australia – the title also launched Guardian US in 2011 – which prompted the Guardian to take on the new digital domain theguardian.com.

On the commercial side, Guardian News and Media launched branded content agency Guardian Labs with a seven-figure Unilever deal. The agency, which has a team in excess of 130 people, is headed up by Anna Watkins.