Daily Mail -amp; General Trust has seen a record full-year performance from its Daily Mail and Metro newspapers with a 23% leap in profits. The group posted underlying pre-tax profits of £247m, against £201m a year earlier, thanks to cost cutting and a rebound in advertising revenues.
It delivered the highest ever earnings at the Daily Mail and freesheet Metro, contributing to a 46% rise in profits at the group's consumer titles.
Underlying advertising revenues rose 6% in Associated Newspapers, but the embattled Northcliffe local and regional newspaper arm saw a 7% dip.
Daily Mail -amp; General Trust (DMGT) said it was "cautiously optimistic" of achieving another year of underlying growth.
Ad revenues in Associated Newspapers rose 9% in the first seven weeks of 2010, but Northcliffe faced another tough year with recent revenues down 7%. The bounce back in business in the consumer arm accounted for 34% of group earnings in the year to October 3, up from 29% a year earlier, said DMGT, due to its digital operation after newspaper websites saw underlying revenues rise 54% to £12m in the year.
The increasing popularity of Mail Online was largely behind this surge as site traffic went up over 70% year-on-year. Across the group, DMGT is benefiting from previous cost savings like job cuts and closures. Action taken over the past year included the closure of the London Lite afternoon freesheet and most of the television activities of Teletext, while it also closed another regional printing plant at Plymouth in February.