DMGT worried about outlook for regional division

Daily Mail & General Trust admits it was too optimistic when it predicted earlier this year that its regional division, Northcliffe Media, would return to profit.

Northcliffe operates more than 100 papers, mainly in south-west England and East Midlands, and forecasted a return to growth barring something “very major to blow us off course”, reports MediaGuardian.

However, DMGT’s financial director Peter Williams has now said market conditions have forced a more uncertain outlook.

“I don’t know yet, I have no idea as we don’t have that visibility,” he said. “It is a bit disappointing; certainly around Christmas, if trends had continued, we should have moved into revenue growth by the spring or summer. It has remained stubbornly slightly negative.”

Northcliffe posted a four per cent revenue fall in the second quarter.

“We are probably more concerned about 2011 than 2010,” added Williams. “Obviously there is currently a lot of momentum in the market. I would be surprised if it fell off a cliff but looking forward, post the VAT increase, there is a lot more uncertainty on what might happen in the medium term. With austerity measures the unknown is spending impact.”

Williams also reiterated that reports linking DMGT with a sale of Northcliffe to either Trinity Mirror or Johnston Press were untrue.

(Source: MediaGuardian)

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