DMGT looks to halve 'Standard' losses

Losses at London's Evening Standard newspaper should halve from the £10m-plus deficit seen last year as a result of cost-cutting and improving market conditions, the paper's owner said.

Daily Mail & General Trust, the newspaper group that publishes the Standard, yesterday reported a 29 per cent jump in underlying pre-tax profits to £107.3m, for the six months to 4 April. Despite continuing losses at the Standard, the company said it was performing well in its national and local newspaper divisions.

There is speculation that DMGT may be preparing for a rights issue to help fund the acquisition of The Daily Telegraph, which has been put up for sale. It is thought that the winning bid would be more than £600m.

Lorna Tilbian, an analyst at Numis, said: "We believe the first equity issuance since 1931 [at DMGT] is the most likely route for financing a winning bid for the Telegraph."

The Rothermere family holds 88 per cent of the voting shares and 26 per cent of the non-voting shares. In the past, the Rothermeres have not been prepared to see their holding diluted but industry sources pointed out that buying the Telegraph was a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, others have suggested the purchase could easily be financed by taking on more debt. DMGT yesterday reported that debt had fallen by £64m to £809m.

Peter Williams, DMGT's finance director, would not comment on how the acquisition would be financed. But he warned that the company would pay only a "sensible" price for the deal. Many believe that Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, one of the two other bidders, are willing to pay a "trophy" price for the title.

Mr Williams said: "We are only interested in an investment that you can see providing a decent return. There is no necessity for us to buy it."

He added that losses at the Standard would fall more than £5m this financial year and that "with luck" it would be profitable next year. "The Standard is a cyclical product. London is very cyclical. It has gone into loss before and come out if it," Mr Williams said.

Operating profits at DMGT's national newspaper division, which holds the Standard, Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, rose £14.4m to £50.2m, in the interim period. Advertising revenues at the nationals were up 6 per cent. March was 13 per cent higher and April was up 12 per cent.

DMGT said the advertising recovery was "patchy" with some categories, such as retail, growing, while other advertising sectors, such as personal finance, remained negative.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there