LONDON (Alliance News) - Independent News & Media PLC Friday said its second half has started well and it anticipates a full year performance in line with expectations, as it posted a small decline in pretax profit for its first half.
The Ireland-based news and media group did not specify if these expectations were internal or market expectations.
Independent News & Media posted a pretax profit of EUR13.4 million for the half year to end-June, down slightly from a pretax loss of EUR13.9 million a year before, on revenue of EUR157.3 million compared to EUR157.8 million.
The company reported a 2.9% rise in total advertising revenue, as digital advertising revenue growth of 43.8% more than offset a decline in publishing advertising revenue. Circulation revenue continued to decline in the first half, but the company said it had strongly outperformed the industry average.
During the period the company sold its entire 18.6% holding in APN News & Media Ltd to Credit Suisse (Australia) Ltd, and use the proceeds of EUR119.3 million to clear its debt, reducing its interest charge to EUR1.9 million from EUR3.1 million and leaving the company in a net cash position of EUR35.4 million, compared to a net debt of EUR94.7 million a year before.
Following the period end the company said it plans to close its printing operation in Belfast, however its Belfast publishing business will continue as normal. It expects to close the print business by no later than June 2016, and it does not believe this will have a material hit to its net asset position.
"The first half of 2015 has been very satisfactory for Independent News & Media both from an operational perspective where we have seen a continued strong performance across our titles and from a financial perspective where we have made significant progress in addressing legacy balance sheet issues," said Chief Executive Officer Robert Pitt in a statement.
It did not propose an interim dividend.
Shares in Independent News & Media were up 17% at 0.200 pence Friday morning.
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