Independent Newspapers maintains global pace

Independent Newspapers, the Irish-based newspaper group, yesterday underscored its rapid development into an international media group with news of a 47 per cent increase in pre-tax profits for last year to Irpounds 73.5m.

Liam Healy, the chief executive, said the group was well positioned to achieve further profitable growth in the current year.

With the company's recent acquisition of Wilson & Horton in New Zealand contributing to results for a full year for the first time, some analysts are predicting that group profits could rise to as high as Irpounds 100m this year.

New Zealand is also predicted to become the company's biggest source of profits for the first time, outstripping the group's home base in Ireland.

Independent Newspapers, which owns 46.4 per cent of The Independent in Britain, seems to have done well across the board last year, confounding those critics who have challenged its strategy of international expansion.

Operating profits were up 33 per cent in Ireland, 140 per cent in the UK, 59 per cent in France, 24 per cent in South Africa, 3 per cent in Australia, and 6 per cent in New Zealand.

The group's share of losses at Newspaper Publishing, owner of The Independent and Independent on Sunday, was Irpounds 5.2m. The company said it anticipated a further substantial fall in those losses this year.

Mr Healy was keen to stress the company's dramatic transformation from a relatively small Irish newspaper group (its flagship title is the Irish Independent), to one of the largest pure newspaper groups traded on the stock market.

In the last five years profits have risen ninefold and market capitalisation has grown from Irpounds 115m to Irpounds 838m.

Independent Newspapers was buoyed in its Irish home market by a very strong economy. The advertising market in Ireland last year grew by 18 per cent and Independent Newspapers did a bit better than that. The company also benefited from softer newsprint costs.

In South Africa, performance has been boosted by the addition of new products. Business coverage has been standardised across the group's various titles leading to a big pick-up in business advertising. Weekly personal finance sections have been added.

Mr Healy believes the group's strategy of developing a "basket" of newspaper interests spread across the world is being wholly vindicated by results.

"While it might look a mixed bag, we have managed to extract value. There are common skills we can apply to all these businesses and we were very limited in our scope for expansion in Ireland."

A final dividend of 4.6p is being recommended, lifting the total for the year by 18 per cent to 6.9p. A scrip alternative is again being offered.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England