Profits up in second half as Archant invests in future

Archant, the community media business, whose titles include the Eastern Daily Press, Evening News, Yarmouth Mercury and Lowestoft Journal, has seen a small rise in group operating profit in the second half of 2011, as it has continued to invest in its future and pursue a strategy of developing a customer-centric, multi-media organisation.

In a preliminary statement to shareholders, chairman Richard Jewson said results in the second half of the year to December 31, 2011, saw year-on-year operating profit growth of 1.6pc at �7.8m (2010: �7.7m), on turnover down 2pc at �67.8m (2010: �69.2m), compared to turnover down 4pc in the first half year.

Following a challenging first half, group operating profit for the full year at �10.4m was down 29.4pc (2010: �14.8m) while turnover held up with only a 3pc fall to �135.1m (2010: �139.3m). Operating cash flow remained strong at �13.1m (2010: �13.7m) and net debt at the end of the year was reduced by a quarter to �17.4m (2010: �23.3m).

'Despite very difficult trading conditions, Archant has continued to invest significantly, both in revenue and in capital, to pursue its strategy of developing a customer-centric, multimedia organisation,' Mr Jewson said. 'With little or no support foreseeable from the economy, it is the actions of the management that will enable us to take advantage of new and emerging revenue streams whilst optimising the existing business.'

Archant's AGM takes place at 12 noon on Tuesday April 17 at the John Innes Centre, on the Norwich Research Park

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