Independent News & Media PLC – results for year ending 31 December 2012

inmIndependent News & Media PLC has announced the Group’s results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2012. A detailed presentation on these results is available on the Group’s website

The Group’s interim management statement in respect of the period from 1 January 2013 to 19 April 2013 is also published today.

Financial & Operating Highlights

  • Revenues of €539.7 million, down 3.3%
  • Operating Profit, pre-exceptionals, of €59.7 million, down 20.9% – delivering an operating margin of 11.1%
  • EBITDA, pre-exceptionals, of €80.7 million (including dividends received of €11.1 million) for FY 2012 – down 21%
  • Operating Costs were reduced by €2.5 million despite inflationary cost increases in South Africa in excess of 5.7%, the year-on-year impact of the acquisition of International House Dublin (‘IHD’) and the launch of GrabOne. Excluding IHD and GrabOne, costs reduced by €9.2 million
  • Continued progress in digital, with revenue growth of 21.4% mainly driven by the successful rollout and full year impact of GrabOne in the Island of Ireland
  • Net exceptional charges after tax totalled €273.7 million primarily driven by non-cash asset impairments in APN and Island of Ireland and costs relating to headcount reductions of over 200 in 2012

INM results 2012-1

Strategic Highlights

A restructuring agreement has been reached with its banking syndicate, to effect an amendment to its Master Facility Agreement, which will become effective following the sale of its South African business.

INM says –  this will put it on a secure financial footing with a sustainable debt level, on completion of all stages. On full completion, the new bank deal will give INM the flexibility to reposition itself to embrace opportunities in the digital arena and deliver further significant cost reductions, whilst continuing to invest in the Group’s core print titles.

INM recently announced the sale of its South Africa business for R2 billion (approx. €167m) before expenses – all net proceeds will be used to pay down bank debt.

More details (London Stock Exchange)

Ireland, Dublin

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Tampa Media Group acquires Clearwater Gazette

Revolution Capital Group portfolio company, Tampa Media Group, has acquired weekly newspaper Clearwater Gazette from Chuck and Sandy Pollick.

“For six decades, Clearwater Gazette has been an influential and important voice in the community, and we’re impressed with the quality of the publication put together by the owners, Chuck and Sandy Pollick,” says Gary Alcock, Managing Director of Revolution Capital Group.

“The content and viewpoints of Clearwater Gazette mesh well with our existing portfolio of media properties in the region. In addition to that, it’s also an exceptionally well-run business,” says Jim Towers, a Senior Associate with Revolution.

Revolution Capital Group formed Tampa Media Group in October 2012 to purchase The Tampa Tribune from Media General. Clearwater Gazette is Revolution’s fifth acquisition.

USA, Los Angeles, CA

Mecom Group plc – results for year ended 31st December 2012

mecomMecom Group plc has announced its results for the year ended 31st December 2012.

  • Adjusted EBITDA of €87.5 million (2011: €111.1 million)
  • Total revenue down 9 per cent to €910.5 million
  • Non-advertising revenues down 3 per cent to €546.1 million
  • Advertising revenues down 17 per cent to €364.4 million
  • Costs lower by 7 per cent, or €63.4 million, versus target of €40 million
  • Total adjusted Group earnings per share of 34.6 euro cents (2011: 46.1 euro cents)
  • Final dividend of 5.5 euro cents per share; full year dividend of 11.5 euro cents (including 3.5 cents relating to earnings from discontinued operations)
  • Net debt halved during the year to €129.5 million, with closing leverage of 1.4 times
  • Strategic Review progressing:
    • agreement signed for the disposal of Poland division
    • agreement signed for the disposal of Autotrack online classifieds business
    • processes continue in Denmark and the Netherlands

Full details here.


Trinity Mirror plc – Preliminary results for year ended 30 December 2012

Trinity Mirror plc has announced its preliminary esults for the year ended 30 December 2012


  • Revenue fell by £54.2 million to £706.5 million – in part due to the launch of a new national Sunday tabloid during February 2012.
  • Operating profit up 2.5% to £107.1 million.
  • Structural cost savings of £25 million.
  • EPS growth of 10.7% from 27.0 pence to 29.9 pence – driven by increased operating profit and reduced interest costs on falling debt.
  • Further reduction in net debt of £64.2 million – net debt reduced to £157.0 million after funding £14.2 million investment in Local World.
  • Continued de-risking of the Group’s defined benefit pension schemes – 25% of gross liabilities hedged through insurance contracts.
  • A non cash impairment charge of £60 million against the carrying value of goodwill in the acquired digital recruitment and digital property businesses.

Commenting on the results, Simon Fox, Chief Executive, Trinity Mirror plc, said:

“It has become clear to me in my first six months that not only is Trinity Mirror a strong and cash generative business, as evidenced by this past year’s financial performance, but that there is significant further unrealised potential.

We will be investing £8 million during 2013 to deliver our strategic objectives whilst ensuring we repay maturing long-term debt over the next 15 months. Over this period our financial flexibility will improve such that we can both meet our pension funding obligations and consider the potential for returning capital to shareholders.

Although the trading environment is expected to remain difficult, the strategic initiatives I have implemented will bring significant benefits with the ambition of delivering sustainable profit growth over the medium term.”

More information here.

UK, London

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Independent News and Media to sell INM South Africa for R2billion

inm Independent News and Media has announced that it has agreed detailed heads of terms with Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium for the sale of INM South Africa for R2billion (c. €170 million)

The Sekunjalo consortium of investors is led by Iqbal Survé, a SA philanthropist and former doctor to ex-president Nelson Mandela. Commenting on the agreement, Survé said “I am delighted that I have the opportunity to bring these newspapers, this national asset, back to South Africa. I am bringing Independent back home.”

The agreement will require the approval of INM shareholders and the competition commission in South Africa

Ireland, Dublin & South Africa, Cape Town

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Consortium interested in taking a majority stake in The Sunday People

Sunday+PeopleTrinity Mirror has announced that “it has been approached by a group of investors who have expressed an interest in working with the Group to invest in and develop the Sunday People. ”

The Financial Times reported earlier today that a consortium, headed by former editor of the Sunday Express Sue Douglas and backed by Phoenix Ventures, has proposed taking a majority stake in the Sunday People for £10 million.

The FT say that the consortium want to rename the newspaper “The News of the People” using a masthead similar to the one that was used by “The News of the World”.

UK, London

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Mecom Group issues a pre-close trading update

mecomMecom Group plc has issued a trading update for the year ended 31st December 2012, in advance of its final results which are scheduled to be announced on 21st March 2013.  

Trading highlights

Full-year results for the Group are expected to be in line with the guidance given in the Trading Statement made on the 6th June 2012, and confirmed in an Interim Management Statement on 18th October 2012 (the “October IMS”), with a preliminary estimate of on-going 2012 EBITDA of approximately €89 million. Taking into account the EBITDA of Edda Media for the period until its disposal in June 2012, total Group EBITDA is estimated to be €105 million. Year-end net debt was approximately €130 million (representing c.1.5 times on-going EBITDA). The Group expects adjusted earnings per share from on-going operations to be approximately 24 euro cents, and expects to propose a final dividend in line with its stated dividend policy of dividends being approximately three times covered by net adjusted earnings.

Key trading highlights of the year were as follows:

  • total revenue in 2012 was approximately 9 per cent lower than in 2011;
  • during the final quarter of the year, the Group continued to experience advertising revenue declines in all territories. Total advertising revenue fell by 17 per cent in the three months to 31st December 2012 (compared to a 20 per cent decline in the third quarter), resulting in a 17 per cent decline for the full year;
  • other revenues (including circulation revenue) for the full year 2012 displayed trends broadly consistent with those announced in the October IMS; and
  • total operating costs were approximately €70 million (7 per cent) lower in 2012 than in 2011, with the on-going restructuring programme contributing significantly to this reduction.

All trading performance figures and comparisons quoted in this statement are based on the Group’s on-going operations (i.e. excluding the Edda Media and Presspublica operations, which were sold in 2012 and 2011 respectively), except where stated otherwise.

Strategic Review

Following the Group’s announcement on 19th July 2012 that it would conduct a Strategic Review to examine potential options for maximising shareholder value, processes have been initiated in all of the Group’s territories to solicit expressions of interest and, in some cases, offers from potential buyers for certain of the Group’s assets.

The current status of these processes in respect of each of the Group’s operations is as follows:

·     As yet, no acceptable offers have been received for the whole of the Group’s operations in the Netherlands. The Group is exploring a number of indicative offers from parties interested in acquiring specific parts of the Dutch business, including some of its standalone digital operations.

·     In Denmark, expressions of interest have been received for the entire Danish operations, and the Group will invite a small number of potential buyers to conduct due diligence shortly.

·     In Poland, the Group has received a number of offers for the Group’s operations and is now in exclusive discussions with one party.

A further update on the Strategic Review will be provided at the time of the Group’s annual results announcement on 21st March 2013.


The Group is in discussions with its lenders to extend the term of the current bank facilities by one year, to 31st October 2014, and anticipates agreeing terms for this extension in the near future.

Dutch Competition Authority

On the 27th September 2012, the Group announced that the District Court of Rotterdam had determined that amounts payable by the Group’s Dutch subsidiary, Koninklijke Wegener N.V. (“Wegener”) to the Dutch Competition Authority (the NMa), in respect of alleged breaches of undertakings given by Wegener at the time of its acquisition of VNU Dagbladen in March 2000, should be reduced from the originally assessed amount of €20.6 million to a total of €2.2 million. Following further discussions between Wegener and the NMa, agreement was reached in December 2012 that the reduced fine would be paid in full and final settlement of the matter, and this was done prior to the year-end.

Dutch Management Change

As announced by the Supervisory Board of Koninklijke Wegener N.V. (the “Supervisory Board”) this morning, Truls Velgaard will step down from his position as Chairman of the Management Board of Wegener in mid-2013, consistent with Wegener’s understanding with him when he was appointed in 2010. A search process for his successor is underway and Truls will participate fully in an orderly transition.


The Group expects earnings in 2013, on an on-going basis, to be influenced by continuing pressure in the Group’s advertising markets and continuing declines in single copy circulation sales in Denmark and Poland. These factors will be substantially offset by further benefits from the Group’s restructuring programme, which remains on track to deliver additional cost savings in 2013 as previously announced, and lower interest costs following significant debt reduction during 2012.

Commenting, Stephen Davidson, Executive Chairman, said:

“I am pleased that we expect to deliver 2012 results in line with the trading statement we made on 6th June 2012. During a period of sustained economic pressure and notwithstanding the additional demands of the Strategic Review processes, our people remain committed to the improvement and modernisation of our products and businesses. In 2013 we expect further benefits to come from restructuring initiatives and the launch of new subscription packages that provide our readers different and innovative ways to access our content.”

Norway, Oslo & UK, London

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Pamplin Media Group acquires six weekly newspapers from Eagle Newspapers

pamplinPamplin Media Group, Oregon’s largest community news organization and a subsidiary of R.B. Pamplin Corp., has acquired six weekly newspapers from Eagle Newspapers, a Salem-based company. The newspapers included in the acquisition are: the Canby Herald, Madras Pioneer, Molalla Pioneer, Newberg Graphic, Wilsonville Spokesman and Woodburn Independent.

“We are excited to add these outlets to the family of Pamplin community newspapers,” said Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr., owner of Pamplin eagleMedia Group and R.B. Pamplin Corp. “This acquisition strengthens our ability to share important community news with more residents in more places.”

“Now, we’ll reach half a million print readers each week, and hundreds of thousands more online and through our radio stations,” Pamplin added. “This puts us on equal footing, in terms of reach, with any other media in Oregon. With this acquisition, there’s no media larger in the state than Pamplin Media Group.”

Eagle Newspapers was founded in 1948 by former Oregon Gov. Elmo Smith. Under the leadership of his son, former Congressman Denny Smith, the company grew to 25 holdings in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, including dailies in The Dalles and Sunnyside, Wash. The company also owns four press plants, a mailing service and publishes various other specialty publications and phone books.

Pamplin Media Group also owns the Portland Tribune and 17 other newspapers throughout Portland, including newspapers in Gresham, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Tigard and Clackamas.

USA, Portland, OR & Salem. MA

American City Business Journals acquires Streetwise Media,

American City Business Journals, the USA’s largest print and online publisher of local business news, has acquired Streetwise Media, a Boston-based digital media company that uses a community publishing platform to cover local news. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Streetwise currently operates two web sites – in Boston and in Washington, D.C. – that focus on local news about business, innovation and technology, education, politics and lifestyles.  The sites are targeted at young professionals in their 20’s and 30’s.

Collectively, the Streetwise sites attracted more than 2.6 million unique visitors in the last month and had more than 9 million page views.

“In a short amount of time, Streetwise has attracted a very loyal and robust audience that is different from but complementary to what we do at our business journals in Boston, Washington and elsewhere,” said Whitney Shaw, president and chief executive officer of ACBJ.

“We’re looking forward to helping Streetwise grow its business significantly and feel that many of the things we experienced building American City have a direct application to their efforts.”

Streetwise founders Chase Garbarino and Kevin McCarthy will remain with the company as chief executive officer and chief technology officer, respectively.  The company will continue to be based in Boston.

USA, Charlotte, NC & Boston, MA