Reach records profit growth despite falling revenue
In its first full year financial results since the acquisition of the Daily Express and the Daily Star, newsbrand publisher Reach has posted a profit before tax of £150.6m for 2019 - a 6.1% rise on the previous year.
Meanwhile, revenue dropped -3% to £702.5m and on a like-for-like basis fell by -5.3% - though it marks an improvement on its -6.6% drop in 2018.
Reach, which also publishes the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror, attributes the improvement to "resilient circulation revenue and stronger digital growth". Digital like-for-like revenue grew 13.2%, up 16.4% in the second half of the year.
The group also delivered significant cost efficiencies, including structural cost savings of £12m and incremental acquisition synergies of £16m.
Adjusted operating profit also increased by 5.4% to £153.4m.
According to Reach, the business is continuing to perform in line with expectations. The group said it is confident it will make further progress through the rest of 2020.
"2019 was a year of good operational and solid financial progress with record growth in audience numbers, consistently good cash generation and a strong balance sheet," said CEO Jim Mullen, who joined the business in the summer of 2019.
"This, along with unparalleled scale, underpins our drive to build an intelligent, relevant and trusted content business for the long term whilst continuing to deliver for our stakeholders."
Mullen added that "content is at the heart of [our] new customer value strategy", claiming that the publisher has "unmatched reach" in UK media and will deepen its relationships with increased customer engagement.
"Through this, we see significant potential to accelerate the diversification of our digital revenue and capture more value to deliver on our sustainable digital growth ambitions.”