Britain’s news of the major publishing groups has extended for another year of big losses due to its heavy debt burden and the fall in the value of its securities.
Johnston Press, which publishes newspapers, including the”I”, The scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, saw a loss before tax of € 95m last year.
But that was the best £301m loss incurred in 2016, after cutting the rating of its securities.
In 2017, further reduced the value of those securities, from £57m to £84m.
The reduction in the value of the Edinburgh study of debt is also accused of profit, at a cost of £22.
With £196m of debt, it must still find a way to roll when it is due to mature in June 2019. After years of struggle to reduce debt to a maximum of £751m in 2006.
Discussions with a committee of bond-holders were announced last November, and there is no sign with the publication of a full year of financial results as chief executive Ashley Highfield is close to cutting a deal.
Without that, the council has issued a notice of displacement to alternative financial restructuring or refinancing.Uncertain future
The results of the financial statement said that this was a “material uncertainty” for the future of the company, adding: “the Failure to refund, refinance, satisfy or otherwise retire the bonds at their maturity, could result in a default under any of the rules governing the obligations of the May 16, 2014, and this indicates a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the ability of the group’s continuity”.
The figures for 2017 showed revenues from print advertising was down 20% to £49m. In this context, classified advertising was down 29% in a single year, or a fall of nearly € 13m.
In digital advertising, Johnston Press has won £20m of business, equal to 8%.
Revenues from the dissemination of newspapers fell by 1% to £79m.
To reduce the debt, there have been repeated rounds of cost-cutting. Closed 18 offices, bringing the total to 89 properties.
The cost of redundancies was more than € 13m, and the strategic review to cost more than £3m, while the capital expenditure was less than 5 million pounds.
It has spent £19m of debt service last year, and has contributed £10m towards the shortfall in its pension fund.
That was while the total turnover increased from £223m in 2016 to £202m last year.
Without the high cost of a financial correction to account for the heavy debt, the publisher has reported adjusted pre-tax profits from continuing operations is down from € 17 to € 14m.Strong performer
The figures had to be adjusted to provide a comparable account after the purchase of the” I ” newspaper during 2016, which skewed the results for that year.
That remains a strong performer in its stable of news brands, with profit of up to 9 million pounds in its first full year in the Johnston Press.
In the city of his main titles, it could point to a strong growth in numbers of digital news platforms. The past year has seen The Scot, in which the figure of 13%, the Yorkshire Post from the 58% and Sheffield Star 29%.
Johnston Press believes that the advertising market during the beginning of 2018 is improved, and there has been a move back to trusted news brands, in response to the advertising of “false news” and controversy on social media.
Johnston press interim chair Camilla Rhodes said of the prospects for the company: “Current trading remains very challenging, and should remain so for the rest of the year.”