Acquisition of the Express & Star stable by Reach has provided a double-digit fillip for the publisher after its revenues surged 16.2% to £723.9m – masking a like-for-like fall of 6.6% when the outsize impact of the acquisition is stripped out.
Over the course of 2018 Reach saw its adjusted operating profits beat analyst expectations, rising 16.8% to £145.6m while the pension deficit closed slightly, falling by £29m to £348.6m.
Not all figures seem to be moving in the right direction however with Reach recording a statutory operating loss of £107.6m on account of a non-cash impairment charge of £200m and a further £15.8m charge relating to pensions.
Reach chief executive Simon Fox said: "I am pleased with the performance we have delivered in 2018 and encouraged by the stronger finish to the year. We have begun 2019 in a strong financial position with good momentum on the integration of Express & Star and with clear plans for digital growth."
Assuming ‘no significant adverse implications arising from the UK’s exit from the European Union’, Reach expressed confidence that it will continue to drive profit through 2019.