National World looking for more buys

Hannah Jordan
Thursday, May 26, 2022

Publisher National World has said it is “pursuing acquisition opportunities to build scale and enhance shareholder value” while stronger yields have mitigated challenging market conditions.

Montgomery: we are accelerating our transformation into a premium content and sales business across all platforms
Montgomery: we are accelerating our transformation into a premium content and sales business across all platforms

In a trading update for the 21 weeks to 28 May, the business, which acquired JPI Media for £10.1m in 2021, also said that investment and development around its digital operations as well as “careful management of the cost base” would support cashflow and profits. The board expects performance for the year to be in line with company expectations. 

“We have had a robust start to 2022,” commented National World chairman, David Montgomery. 

“Despite a more uncertain trading environment, we are accelerating our transformation into a premium content and sales business across all platforms. We continue to launch new products, invest in organic growth, enhance heritage assets and streamline our infrastructure to create further efficiencies. 

“Management is pursuing acquisition opportunities to build scale and enhance shareholder value,” he added. 

Posting its update for the first five months of the year, the company said revenue for the period is expected to grow by 4% year-on-year with 5% growth in the first quarter and 1% in April and May. 

Digital revenue growth of 38% year-on-year is expected for the period, with 28% in April and May, the company said, and while market volatility caused by the war in Ukraine as well as rising UK inflation and deflated consumer confidence was creating a challenging market, stronger yields and an almost year-on-year doubling of video advertising had kept revenue solid. 

Print revenue is expected to decline by 2%, with advertising revenue increasing by 3% and circulation revenue falling by 7%. A marginal decline in print revenue in the first quarter was offset by a 4% decline in April and May, the company said. 

The group added it maintains a strong financial position with a cash balance of circa-£25m at the end of May, offset by £1m of outstanding loan note debt and a £2.5m deferred consideration. 

The company’s national website, launched 12 months ago, continues to show strong growth with monthly page views up to 20m in April, according to the business while it has launched seven online-only Metro World brands into London, Birmingham and Manchester with plans to extend the portfolio into three more cities. 

A focus on cost management continues to support National World’s digital investment and mitigate the impact of rising costs and newsprint prices, according to the update. 

National World's share price went up 11.11% to 22.00p on the news (52-week high: 42.28p, low: 19.20p).

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