Trinity Mirror to pay first dividend in six years

Chief executive Simon Fox promised shareholders a 3p divi at the end of the year

Trinity Mirror has taken a £4m hit because of legal bills associated with the investigation into phone-hacking at the red-top newspaper group, though there was relief that the financial cost was not higher.

Its shares jumped nearly 6 per cent to 188.75p as investors welcomed the group’s promise that it would pay a dividend for the first time in six years as its financial health improves.

The owner of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People said it was setting aside £4m for “dealing with and resolving historical legal issues” related to hacking allegations.

Asked if Trinity Mirror had settled any case of alleged illegal behaviour, Simon Fox, the chief executive, said: “We absolutely haven’t made any decisions about whether ‘resolving’ involves settling. Nor does that wording rule it out.”

Analysts at Barclays said the £4m figure was “somewhat reassuring – given that the market was previously free to speculate on the risk of a very large total exposure”. Trinity faces about 17 civil cases brought by individuals that relate to hacking.

Mr Fox declined to comment on the outcome of the recent News of the World trial, in which the former editor Andy Coulson and other journalists were convicted of offences related to phone hacking. Dan Evans, a former Sunday Mirror and News of the World reporter, was a witness during the trial. He has admitted hacking voicemails at both papers and was given a suspended jail sentence last week.

Mr Fox described the decision to restore the dividend as a “material moment” after the group ran up big debts and deferred payments into its pension scheme before he took the helm in 2012. He promised a 3p dividend at the end of the year and hopes to increase the dividend to 5p next year. Digital growth of nearly 50 per cent in the main publishing business during the first six months of this year has helped to halt falling revenues, with group turnover dropping by just 2.3 per cent to £324.2m.

Sales were down just 1.4 per cent in May and June at the publisher of the Daily Mirror as Fox said the group is moving towards a tipping-point where digital offsets print decline.

He hopes to increase the dividend to 5p next year and added financial flexibility meant that it could consider acquisitions.

Vijay Vaghela, group finance director since 2003 when previous boss Sly Bailey was in charge, hailed “a significant turnaround” after the group ran up big debts and deferred payments into its pension scheme.

Net debt has plunged to £56 million from £324 million at the start of 2010.

“In the period prior to Simon, there was a strong focus on cash management, profit management and costs,” said Vaghela, referring to Bailey’s troubled tenure, which lasted until 2012. “The strategy for driving the top line was less clear.”

Fox has pushed into digital, launching news-lite website UsVsTh3m and dating service  Mirror Match.

However, digital amounted to only about £22 million of sales — still less than 7 per cent of group turnover.

Pre-tax profits rose by two-thirds to £50.5 million, buoyed by a windfall from selling its stake in Press Association’s weather business.

Trinity Mirror also took a £4 million charge because of legal costs from the phone-hacking investigation.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Fraud contributes 11p to a £2.00 box of half a dozen eggs
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the Jurassic World trailer
film

Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early

Environment
The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environment
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer snapped celebrities for 40 years - but it wasn’t all fun and games
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
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

Citifocus Ltd: Product Development - Asset Management

£Attractive: Citifocus Ltd: High calibre individual with significant product d...

Citifocus Ltd: Credit Ratings - Banking Sector

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Leading global bank seeks experienced credit analy...

Citifocus Ltd: Economic Crime Investigation & Analysis

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: High calibre individual with a high degree...

Citifocus Ltd: Snr Risk Analyst - Capital & Liquidity

£Attractive: Citifocus Ltd: High calibre individual with superior academics an...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital