'Independent' publisher sees earnings improving

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The Independent Online

Independent News & Media said operating profits in 2001 were likely to be in line with 2000 because of tough advertising markets, but added that it was well positioned to deliver improved earnings in 2002.

"Despite a somewhat fickle and hesitant advertising market, advertising visibility is improving and circulation revenues remain very positive," the company said.

The company, which publishes The Independent and The Independent on Sunday, said its much lower debt levels, with lower interest rates, would result in a substantially reduced interest charge in 2002. It expects to make additional savings through improved cost efficiencies.

Independent News & Media added that despite the economic impact of 11 September, total advertising revenues for the full year are expected to be only 1 per cent lower than last year.

The shares were unchanged at 123.5p. The company said its operations, located in its primary markets of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Britain, continued to perform well.

The majority of the company's more than 200 titles had "enhanced revenues" with a combination of price hikes and circulation increases.

"Individually, each of our operations continues to trade well, and we expect operating profits for 2001 to be in line with the year to December 2000," the company said.

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