Independent News & Media first-half profits up 22%

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The Independent Online

Independent news & Media, the international media group that owns The Independent and The Independent on Sunday, reported record half-year results yesterday after improved trading performances in all divisions.

Independent news & Media, the international media group that owns The Independent and The Independent on Sunday, reported record half-year results yesterday after improved trading performances in all divisions.

Profits in the six months to 30 June rose 22 per cent to 74.5m euros (£45.6m), driven by double-digit growth in Ireland, Australia, the UK and New Zealand. The company also highlighted the potential of its recent acquisition of the Belfast Telegraph newspaper group, which was cleared by regulators in July.

"I am pleased to report record performances across each of our markets in what has been an exciting, rewarding and better than expected first half," said Dr AJF O'Reilly, Independent News & Media's executive chairman.

The key Irish division performed strongly, with profits rising from 33.5m euros to 37.4m euros, helped by the booming Irish economy. Advertising delivered significant revenue growth, while the circulation of the Irish Independent achieved a 17-year high of 167,567.

The company said there were no signs of a slowdown in the Irish economy, with GDP forecast to grow by 8-10 per cent this year and next.

The UK division bounced back to a 100,000 euros (£61,000) profit, helped by solid circulations at The Independent and The Independent on Sunday and a 21 per cent increase in advertising.

Circulation of the national titles continues to improve, the company said, with market share advances and further growth predicted for the second half. Investment plans for the papers will now be brought forward. A move to new offices in London Docklands is also on track for November. The Belfast Telegraph was not included in the results as the deal's clearance was received after the trading period. The company said August trading had been "excellent".

Elsewhere, the South African operations performed well despite challenging market conditions.

In new media, the Independent.co.uk website is achieving more than 9 million page impressions per month. The period also saw the 320m euros (£195m) flotation of iTouch, the mobile internet provider, on the London market last month.

Commenting on the results, Brendan Hopkins, UK chief executive of Independent News & Media, said: "We are pleased with the performance with all operating divisions performing ahead of expectations and we are positive about the second half."

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