Advertising revival boosts Telegraph

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A STRONG recovery in advertising, offsetting pressure on circulation, helped to take operating profits at the Telegraph up 16 per cent to pounds 12m in the three months to March, writes Diane Coyle.

Advertising revenues were 18 per cent higher than in the first quarter last year, reaching levels last seen in 1989. The newspaper group said financial and classified recruitment advertisements had done particularly well. Joe Cooke, managing director, said the favourable trend had continued in recent weeks.

The Telegraph's circulation revenues were unchanged. Following the launch of a broadsheet price war by the Times last August, the Daily Telegraph saw its average daily circulation in the six months to 31 March fall 1.65 per cent to just over 1 million. The Sunday Telegraph increased sales by 6 per cent to 617,505.

Pre-tax profits fell from pounds 19.1m to pounds 16m but last year's figure was boosted by pounds 6.5m from the sale of its investment in Trinity International Holdings, a Chester-based newspaper group. Telegraph shares rose 9p to 620p.

The Telegraph made the strongest contribution to first-quarter profits of Cdollars 12.6m at Hollinger, the Canadian media group headed by Conrad Black which holds 68 per cent of its shares.