Belfast Telegraph

Johnston Press shares plunge as publisher warns of further pressure ahead

Revenues fell despite a ‘strong performance’ from the i newspaper.

The Scotsman publisher Johnston Press has warned of further cost pressures (The Scotsman/PA)
The Scotsman publisher Johnston Press has warned of further cost pressures (The Scotsman/PA)

Johnston Press shares plunged after the company logged a fall in revenues and warned of “continued pressure” amid new data protection rules and paper prices.

The publisher of The Scotsman and Yorkshire Post said in a trading update that revenues slumped 9% in the period between January 1 and May 31, despite a “strong performance” from the i newspaper.

While the company expects full-year results to be in line with market expectations, it warned of further pain in the months ahead.

“The trading environment remains extremely challenging, exacerbated in recent months by uncertainty around future paper costs and the impact of GDPR on digital advertising revenues.

“We expect to see continued pressure on revenues in the second half of the year, and a requirement for cost savings”, Johnston Press said in its market update ahead of its annual general meeting on Tuesday.

Johnston Press shares took a hit on Tuesday (PA)

Its shares plunged on the update, falling more than 17.6% in morning trading.

Johnston Press also gave an update on its strategic review, originally announced in March last year.

The publisher has been discussing its restructuring and refinancing options ahead of next June, when £220 million bonds come due for repayment.

However, it said on Tuesday that the company has yet to reach any agreement with investors and stakeholders.

The update comes just a month after the publisher saw its chief executive, Ashley Highfield, resign, citing family reasons.

Mr Highfield, who had been at the helm since 2011 and spearheaded the acquisition of the i newspaper, is being replaced by finance chief David King.

Press Association