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Southern Newspapers' chief executive James Sexton (right) and Colin Rowley, finance director, celebrating the group's first year on the Alternative Investment Market with a 62 per cent rise in annual profits to pounds 18.8m. Stripping out a pounds 7.45m profit on the sale of premises as part of the relocation of the Southern Daily Echo and other Southampton-based weekly titles, operating profits only edged ahead, however. The group said the current year would see the virtual completion of plans to rationalise newspaper printing operations, although the full benefits will not come through until next year. The group is raising the dividend by 15 per cent to 17.75p.