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Reach publishes 2019 results

Reach plc this week announced its preliminary audited results for the 52-week period ended 29 December 2019.

Reach publishes 2019 results

According to Reach plc:

Financial and Operational Highlights

  • Revenue was £702.5m (2018: £723.9m) benefiting from a full year of trading of the Express & Star acquisition
  • On a like-for-like basis revenue fell by 5.3%, versus a fall of 6.6% in 2018, with resilient circulation revenue and stronger digital growth
  • Strengthened performance in digital with like-for-like revenue increasing by 13.2% (up 16.4% in H2) and average worldwide monthly page views growingby 25% year on year to 1.3bn (up 34% in H2)
  • Significant cost efficiencies delivered during the year including structural cost savings of £12m and incremental acquisition synergies of£16m
  • Adjusted operating profit increased by 5.4% to £153.4m with adjusted operating margin increasing to 21.8% (2018: 20.1%)
  • Statutory operating profit of £131.7m (2018: loss of £107.6m) reflecting reduced adjusting operating items versus 2018
  • Accounting pension deficit (IAS 19) fell by £52.7m to £295.9m (£242.9m net of deferred tax)
  • Strong cash generated from operations of £147.4m, up 7.0% year on year,supporting £60.0m acquisition term loan repayment, with year-end cash positive position of £20.4m
  • Group refinanced its revolving credit facility with a £65m agreement to December 2023 (no drawings at the end of 2019)
  • Final dividend of 4.05 pence per share, an increase of 7.4%, giving a total dividend for the year of 6.55 pence per share (2018: 6.14 pence per share), up 6.7%

Current Trading, Outlook and Customer Value Strategy

  • The Group has continued to perform in line with management’s expectations since the year end
  • The Board is confident that the Group will make further good progress through the rest of the year delivering its customer-focused objectives and digital growth ambitions

Commenting on the annual results for 2019, Jim Mullen, Chief Executive Officer of Reach, said: “I was delighted to join Reach in August 2019 and have been impressed by the relentless focus on producing award-winning journalism and content that shapes national and regional conversations. These are strong foundations on which to invest and innovate to ensure a sustainable future for our trusted brands.

2019 was a year of good operational and solid financial progress with record growth in audience numbers, consistently good cash generation and a strong balance sheet. This, along with unparalleled scale, underpins our drive to build an intelligent, relevant and trusted content business for the long term whilst continuing to deliver for our stakeholders.

Content is at the heart of the new customer value strategy we are announcing today. We have an unmatched reach in UK media and will deepen our relationships via increased customer engagement. Through this, we see significant potential to accelerate the diversification of our digital revenue and capture more value to deliver on our sustainable digital growth ambitions.”

Click here for the full report.