DC Thomson profits fall as ad revenues are hit

PUBLISHING group DC Thomson, behind a string of Scottish newspapers along with the Beano and Friends Reunited, saw profits fall last year amid difficult trading conditions.

The company reported pre-tax profits in the year to 31 March dropped to 27.4 million from 32.5m the previous year although turnover rose to 276.2m from 272.1m.

But a rise in group net assets to 983.5m, including some 88m in cash, confirmed its position as one of Scotland's best-funded companies.

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The group's newspaper division, which includes the Press and Journal and Evening Express in Aberdeen along with the Courier and Evening Telegraph in Dundee and the Sunday Post, were hit by significant falls in advertising revenues.

It said its women's magazines division and puzzle magazines performed reasonably well although the Beano and the Dandy continued to find their market difficult.

The company highlighted the strong contribution made by Christmas annuals to its book division, which includes Parragon and Peter Haddock, and said sales had held up particularly well during the recession as consumers looked for "good value gifts".

Despite market conditions, the company said it remained optimistic about the future of publishing and said the advertising revenue decline seen at its newspaper titles had slowed.

Cost-cutting measures have included the closure of a print works in Dundee with the loss of up to 350 jobs.