Belfast Telegraph

Daily Mail's owner hit by share slump after losses

By Ravender Sembhy

Shares in the owner of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday have crashed after the firm swung to a full-year loss and warned over its prospects for 2018.

The group, which also owns the Metro newspaper, posted a statutory loss of £112m in the year to September 30, which compares to a £202m profit last year.

DMGT was stung by impairment charges linked to its Genscape, Xceligent and SiteCompli businesses, which were hit by lower growth and challenging trading. It also said that its short-term earnings will be "adversely affected" next year by recent disposals and "challenging conditions".

Shares tanked over 23% in morning trading to 540p as investors digested the news.

Ian Whittaker, analyst at Liberum, said: "What is clear is that DMGT faces another year of 'transformation' but it is not entirely clear when we will get the acceleration of top-line growth."

Print advertising revenue fell by 5%, but digital advertising grew 18%, helping MailOnline to move into operating profit during the final quarter.

Circulation revenues were "stable", although sales of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday fell 6% to £455m. Operating profit at the Metro tanked 27% to £11m despite a 4% increase in revenue at the freesheet.

On an adjusted basis, underlying revenue rose 1% to £1.66bn and pre-tax profit came in at £226m, down 13%.

Chief executive Paul Zwillenberg said: "We are encouraged that DMGT has delivered a resilient underlying performance during the year and made good progress against our strategic priorities."

Belfast Telegraph

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