Trinity Mirror achieves 14% pretax profit growth despite ad revenue decline

News publisher Trinity Mirror has reported a 14% increase in statutory pre-tax profits for 2016, although it saw like-for-like print advertising revenues drop by 18%.

The Daily Mirror owner today unveiled its first full annual results since its acquisition of local newspaper company Local World in November 2015.

The acquisition helped boost its statutory pre-tax profit for the 53 weeks to 1 January 2017 from £67.2m to £76.5m and grow its overall revenues from £593m to £713m.

While the expansion also meant that print advertising revenues swelled by 30% to £237m, the underlying picture was down, with the company admitting it had underperformed the market.

Print advertising fell 18% on a like-for-like basis, which assumes Local World was owned from the beginning of 2015 and excludes revenue from discontinued operations.

Digital publishing revenues grew by 84% to £79m, with like-for-like growth of 14%.

Reporting on trading for the first two months of 2017, the company said it expected a 9% like-for-like fall.

Trinity Mirror said it has also increased the money set aside for phone hacking, which in May 2015 was found by a judge to have been "widespread and frequent" at the company's national newspapers. 

After losing an appeal against that ruling in March 2016, Trinity Mirror "started to accelerate the resolution of these historical matters". 

It has increased its provision for costs by £11.5m, bringing the total amount set aside so far to £52.5m. 

Simon Fox, Trinity Mirror's chief executive, said: "We have delivered a strong financial performance in the year despite the challenging environment we face.

"I am particularly pleased with the progress we have made in growing our digital audience and revenue, and with the work we have done this year to develop and refine our strategic priorities for the year ahead."

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