Trinity Mirror reveals rebrand as revenue and profits fall

Alongside its full-year results, which showed declines in both revenue and profits, Trinity Mirror has revealed it is set to change its name to Reach.

The group said a resolution proposing the rebrand will be put forward at its Annual General Meeting on 3 May.

“Through our content we reach millions of people every day. Our reach extends across multiple platforms in both print and digital and across the cities and communities that we serve,” said Trinity Mirror chief executive Simon Fox.

“We think this is a name which better reflects what we do and what our ambitions are.”

For the 52 weeks ending 31 December 2017, the group’s revenue fell by 12% on the previous year, from £713m to £623.3m.

Operating profit dropped by 9.3%, from £137.5m to £124.7m, and pre-tax profits fell by 8%, from £133.2m to £122.5m. Earnings per share fell by 5.2%, from 38.1p to 36.1p.

Publishing revenue fell by 9% to £577.8m. Publishing print revenue fell by 11.3% to £493.9m but digital revenue grew by 7% to £83.9m.

Digital display and transactional revenue growth of 18.2% was partially offset by digital classified revenue – which the group said is substantially upsold from print – falling by 25.1%.

Revenue in the group’s printing division dropped by 12.7% to £31.6m. This includes the £1.3m impact of the cessation of the Independent print contract in April 2016 and the £600,000 impact of one week less of trading [last year’s results covered a 53-week period].

Print advertising revenue fell by 24.9%, or by 19.3% on a like-for-like basis, while circulation revenue fell by 8.3%, or by 6.5% on a like-for-like basis, with volume declines partially mitigated by cover price increases.

The group said it achieved structural cost savings, including synergy savings from the integration of 2015-acquired rival publisher Local World, of £20m in 2017 – £5m more than its original savings target of £15m. It has targeted a further £15m of structural cost savings for 2018.

Trinity’s acquisition of Northern & Shell's UK publishing assets [Republic of Ireland is expected to complete later this year] was approved by shareholders last Tuesday (27 February), and completed the following day.

The group has since been served a 'hold separate' order by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), pending an investigation into risks to press plurality resulting from the acquisition.

Trinity said it continues to evaluate a number of ongoing opportunities that drive value and sees itself as a consolidator in the newspaper industry.

“I am pleased with the acquisition of the publishing assets of Northern & Shell in line with our strategic focus on consolidation and I believe this presents significant opportunities to realise real value,” said Fox.

“Having made good progress with our strategy in 2017 we will build on this in the year ahead.”

Trinity’s pension deficit fell by £88.4m to £377.6m and the group paid £38.7m into the defined benefit pension scheme during 2017.

The group proposed a final dividend of 3.55p per share for 2017, an increase of 6% per share, bringing the total dividend for 2017 to 5.8p per share, an increase of 6.4% per share. In November, the group completed the £10m share repurchase programme it announced in 2016.

Trinity Mirror’s share price fell by 1.2p to 74.3p in early trading but had risen to 77.9p at the time of writing.


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