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Half-yearly profit declines for Johnston Press

Though digital sales surge, newspaper sales continue to decline.

The Scottish newspaper publisher Johnston Press has reported a profit of £14.48m for the first six months ended 30 June 2012, compared to £18.97m for the same period last year.

Total revenues declined by 8.2 per cent to £176.1m (2011: £191.8m). Print advertising revenues dipped by 12.5 per cent to £97.4m (2011: £111.3m), while digital revenues grew by 8.4 per cent to £10.3m (2011: £9.5m).

Newspaper sales declined by 3.1 per cent to £46.7m (2011: £48.2m), while contract printing revenues decreased by 10 per cent to £12.6m (2011: £14m).

The group, whose publications include the Scotsman, the Edinburgh Evening News and Yorkshire Post, achieved an operating profit of £30.4m (2011: £33.3m) and an operating margin of 17.3 per (2011: 17.4 per cent).

Ashley Highfield, CEO of Johnston Press, said:

The first half has been a period of tremendous activity and we have made significant progress. Johnston Press is going through a strategic transformation. As we continue to develop our digital portfolio, refresh our print offering, reduce costs and use our substantial operating cash flow to bring down our debt, we are increasingly confident about the success of the strategy and the benefits that it will deliver.

The group’s portfolio encompasses 13 daily, 175 weekly paid-for and 71 weekly free newspapers, a number of glossy monthly lifestyle magazines, smaller specialist local publications, 223 local websites, 211 mobile sites, seven iPad apps and several iPhone apps.