On the launch day of its new national daily newspaper, The New Day, Trinity Mirror has reported significant declines in revenues and profits for the full year.
In its financial results for the year ending 27 December 2015, the newspaper publisher reported that its pre-tax profits fell 17.6% to £67.2m last year. The firm’s revenue also declined, by 6.9% to £592.7m.
The decrease was led by a 9.5% fall in underlying publishing print revenue. Underlying publishing digital revenue grew by 21.9%.
The company’s adjusted operating profit grew by 3.9% to £109.6m while adjusted profit before tax rose by 5.1% to £107.5m. Net debt for the publisher increased by £73.6m to £92.9m.
During the period the group completed the acquisition of the 80.02% of rival publisher Local World not previously owned at an implied enterprise value for 100% of £220m.
Local World revenue and adjusted operating profit for the full year 2015 were £208.2m and £41.4m respectively.
Trinity Mirror spent £29m during the year on dealing with civil claims arising from phone hacking. It said criminal investigations against journalists and the group’s subsidiary, MGN, have now ceased.
The company said its strategy remains on track and good progress is being made on the integration of Local World.
Its strategy is to grow its digital audience and revenue while protecting print revenue and supporting profits through the tight management of the cost base.
The publisher hopes the launch of The New Day, the first new standalone national daily for 30 years, will help to protect its print revenue.
Trinity Mirror chief executive Simon Fox said: “I am pleased with the profit growth we delivered in 2015 despite the challenging print environment. Our significant efforts on improving our balance sheet over the past three years enabled the transformational acquisition of Local World.
“We are delighted to welcome the Local World team to Trinity Mirror and are making good progress with the integration of the two companies and finding opportunities to benefit from best practice.
“Whilst we expect print markets to remain difficult in 2016, the continued implementation of our strategy gives the board confidence in our performance for the year ahead.”
He added: “We have today launched The New Day. It is an exciting and innovative initiative which we believe fills a gap in the market for a daily newspaper designed to co-exist in a digital age.”
The board has proposed a final dividend of 3.15p per share, bringing the total dividend for 2015 to 5.15p per share. This compares to a final dividend of 3p per share in 2014.
Trinity Mirror's share price was up 4.3% at the time of writing at 159.25p.