Trinity suffers fresh plunge in advertising revenues

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The Independent Online

The company failed to see an expected recovery in the second quarter of the year, when it had hoped to benefit from easier comparative figures from 2005. Instead, May 2006 was down 7 per cent across the group's national and regional titles, followed by a 9 per cent fall in June.

It meant that, after a poor first quarter, the second quarter did not enjoy a rebound, leading analysts to conclude that Trinity Mirror will not make its guidance to the City that advertising will fall between 4 and 5 per cent for the full year.

For the first half, advertising was 11 per cent down for all titles - within that, the "UK nationals", led by the Daily Mirror, were off 13 per cent, while the regionals were down 10 per cent.

In a trading statement, the company warned: "The advertising environment remains weak, and management continue to run the business on the assumption that this will continue for the remainder of the year."

A Trinity Mirror spokesman said advertisers were reluctant to spend during the World Cup as they appeared to feel readers were less likely to go shopping or to view properties when there were big games to watch. The company's key competitors, such as Johnston Press, have also issued poor trading statements.

Andrew Walsh, of Bridgewell Securities, cut 2006 pre-tax profit forecasts for Trinity Mirror by £10m to £181m yesterday

"Does this [performance] point the finger at Sly Bailey [the chief executive] or the market? At the moment, I think it's the market, but, as time goes on, people will ask questions about Sly," he said.

Since February 2003, Ms Bailey has cut costs and reorganised the group, but she has been unable to stem circulation decline at the company's newspapers. Some investors have called for Trinity Mirror to split its national and regional papers.