Local newspaper publisher Archant is to pay its first dividend since 2012 after recording a 20% increase in profits to £9.6m in 2015.
The Norwich-based publisher, which runs 130 titles including the Eastern Daily Press and the Ham & High newspapers as well as glossy magazines, said the increase in profits over 2015 had been achieved without cutting staff, despite a 1.9% fall in revenue.
The company said the 2015 performance and outlook for 2016 meant it was proposing a dividend of 5p per share.
It said circulation at half its magazine titles had increased, while circulation revenue at its newspapers was broadly flat as price increases offset falling sales. The company said it had moved to reduce its pension risk and was taking a “proactive” approach to settling an outstanding tax bill with HMRC.
Chief executive Jeff Henry, who was appointed in 2014, said the improved performance was due to focussing on Archant’s core business in print. The company recorded revenues of £114.6m, down 1.9% on the year, but it was Archant’s best relative performance since 2007, despite difficult industry conditions.
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