Profits plummet for Independent owner

Independent News & Media, the owner of The Independent newspaper, has seen its half-year profits plunge 35.6 per cent because of poor consumer confidence and challenging trading conditions.

The company said its operating profits fell to EUR4.7 million (£3.7 million) in the first half of 2008, down from EUR7.3 million for the same period in 2007. Revenues declined by 14.1 per cent to EUR115.6 million in the first six months of 2008.

INM, which also owns the Belfast Telegraph, said declining government spending on advertising in Northern Ireland and a slump in the property market contributed to the drop in revenues.

The regional newspaper group Johnston Press, which owns The Scotsman, also posted a loss on Wednesday, as its ad revenues for July and the first three weeks of August fell 21 per cent year on year.

The company's interim results showed ad revenues down 9.5 per cent for the first half of 2008, compared with the same period in 2007. Its operating profit fell 15.6 per cent to £81.6 million. Johnston said it had cut costs by £7.6 million and would continue to manage costs actively.