Johnston Press says profits and margins improving

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Newspaper publisher Johnston Press, owner of The Scotsman, today said its full-year operating profits should meet City expectations as it reported a surge in digital revenues.

The group, which also publishes the Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday, said operating profits for the 18 weeks to 2 November were 7.8 per cent higher than the same period last year, with the operating margin improving to 20 per cent.

Although total revenues declined by 6.8 per cent during the period, that marked an improvement on the 9.8 per cent slide seen in the first half of the year.

In today’s third-quarter trading update, chief executive Ashley Highfield said a cost-cutting programme has delivered more than £30 million in savings so far this year, and the group has been able to reduce its debt pile, which stood at £306.4m at the end of June.

Highfield said: “We believe that Johnston Press remains as relevant to local communities and advertisers, both local and national as it has ever been. We also continue to focus on reducing our cost base whilst increasing our investment in our digital future.”