Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph owner INM delivers optimistic trade forecast

By Symon Ross

Independent News & Media is seeing more stability in its trading performance, shareholders have been told.

Gavin O’Reilly, chief executive of Independent News & Media, told the company’s annual meeting in Dublin yesterday that the company, which owns a number of newspapers including the Belfast Telegraph, had entered a period of stability.

Mr O’Reilly said: “2009 was an extraordinarily challenging year at both the operating and financial level, but happily that is now firmly behind us. Following the successful 2009 financial restructuring, in which INM significantly reduced its indebtedness and secured a new four-and-a-half year bank package, the Group has entered into a period of financial stability as global markets begin to recover.

“As such, I am pleased to report that the trading trends that we announced to the market as part of our Interim Management Statement on 24th March last have continued, with the year-on-year trend in underlying advertising revenue improving marginally since the first quarter and the year-on-year cost trend being maintained.”

The INM chief executive gave a relatively upbeat outlook for the rest of the year.

“Overall, we are experiencing more stability in our trading performance across each of our regions, though aggregate advertising revenues have yet to show growth on the prior year and advertising conditions remain volatile,” he added.

“Although economic conditions remain uncertain, with INM’s strong operating leverage, we would continue to target an improvement in operating profit for 2010 if the trading trends experienced so far this year continue.”

Belfast Telegraph