GMG reports “sound” performance

Carolyn McCall

Guardian Media Group (GMG) has revealed plans to grow through acquisition and by diversifying its business over the next 12 months in its results for the year to April 1.

The group, which owns The Guardian newspaper and Smooth FM, reported an increase in pre-tax profits from £66.4m last year to £64.2m on turnover up from £700.3m to £716.1m.

It says that the sale of its 49.9% stake in Trade Media Group in March this year will fund further acquisitions.

GMG chief executive Carolyn McCall says: “The sale of a minority stake in Trader Media has rebalanced our portfolio and delivered a substantial return. We will actively pursue acquisition opportunities in the year ahead as we continue to reshape our business.”

Guardian News & Media reduced its operating loss from £19.3m to £15.9m over the period while turnover increased by from £237.4m to £245.7m. It says the circulation of the division, which includes The Guardian and The Observer, has increased by 10% year-on-year.

Its digital revenue has grown by 49% year on year and Guardian Unlimited recorded 15.7m in January (Audit Bureau of Circulation), which is an increase of 19.7% year-on-year.

The regional media division reported a drop in operating profit from £21.6m to £19.4m with classified sales down by 11% year on year. Display sales fared better showing a 1.4% increase and digital revenue increased on 18.3% year-on-year.

GMG says the radio division out performed the market with operating profits up from £2.7m to £3.5m. The group acquired Saga Radio, two Century stations and Scottish station QFM over the period.

GMG chairman Paul Myners says the results are “sound” in a difficult operating market.

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