Trinity Mirror stock falls on cautious advertising outlook

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The Independent Online
The share price of Trinity Mirror, Britain's biggest newspaper publisher, fell 5.1 per cent yesterday after it issued a trading statement that investors interpreted as down playing prospects for 2001.</p>Trinity Mirror said revenues for 2000 "were in line with expectations" and that 2001 would see the company turn in a "satisfactory performance". Advertising revenue in the second-half to December for its five national newspapers grew 0.6 per cent, while circulation revenue slumped 1.1 per cent. The group publishes The Mirror, Sunday Mirror</i> and The People</i> as well as the Daily Record</i> and Sunday Mail </i>in Scotland.</p>Philip Graf, chief executive, said: "We were up against a particularly good year in 1999. But we had quite a good December with retail advertising coming back." He added: "It's very, very early to say how the first half is going to play out."</p>That cautious outlook combined with recent industry forecasts of near 15 per cent increases in newsprint prices to see Trinity Mirror stock close 23p lower at 432.5p. This left the stock near 12 month lows and 45 per cent off its 774p all-time high reached last March.</p>One market maker remarked: "Investors are disappointed at their lacklustre trading statement. They wanted to see more than just 'satisfactory' performance for 2001."</p>The group, which operates the Liverpool Echo</i> and numerous other regional titles, said revenue growth in 2001 would be helped with the acquisition of Southnews</i>, a suburban London free newspaper chain. It also expects top line revenue gains from the expansion of morning free sheet Metro</i> into Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow through a licensing agreement with Daily Mail &amp; General Trust. Digital media revenues are also expected to grow rapidly.</p>

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