Belfast Telegraph

Johnston Press swings to loss following one-off charge

Newspaper publisher Johnston Press has swung into the red in the first half of the year following a hefty one-off charge.

The firm booked a statutory pre-tax loss of £183.7 million, compared to a £2.2 million profit in the same period last year. Johnston said the loss is linked to a £183.6 million non-cash impairment "reflecting a change of assumptions on the publishing titles and print assets".

Adjusted pre-tax profits also fell 27% to £12.3 million, with the firm flagging Brexit uncertainty and a continued slump in advertising.

Chief executive Ashley Highfield said: "The market continues to be challenging and uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the Brexit negotiations has caused further softness in some segments of the advertising market in June and July."

Revenue was down 11.4% to £114.2 million.

Advertising revenue in the second quarter fell by 15%, following a 17% drop in the first three months of the year.

Last month, Johnston said that sales of its i newspaper were soaring following Britain's decision to quit the European Union. Sales data from the week after the vote showed daily circulation consistently over 300,000, peaking at 319,000.

Johnston Press, which also owns the Yorkshire Post and the Scotsman, acquired the i in April, when its average audited circulation was 270,182.