Reach plc says:
Outlook in line with market expectations
The Board anticipates performance for the year to be in line with market expectations.
Like for like revenue trends improved on prior year
Group revenue in the period grew by 4.4%, reflecting the benefit of the inclusion of the Express & Star acquisition for four months in the current period versus two months in the comparative period.
On a like for like basis Group revenue in the period fell by 6.4%, an improvement on the 7.8% like for like fall in the first four months of 2018. Within like for like revenue, print fell by 7.9% and digital grew by 8.4%. There are a series of digital initiatives underway, which are expected to further accelerate this growth.
Integration of Express & Star continues to progress well
We remain on track to deliver synergy savings of at least £20 million per annum by 2020.
Strong cash flows and further reduction in net debt
Net debt at the end of April of £22.2 million comprised drawings on the Acquisition Term Loan of £39.7 million (reduced from £60.0 million at the year end following early repayment of £20.3 million due in December 2019) less cash balances of £17.5 million.
Simon Fox, Chief Executive, commented: "I am pleased with the solid start to the year and the positive improvement in revenue trends. Our early term loan repayment demonstrates the continued success of the Express & Star acquisition and the strong cash generation of the Group. We also continue to make good strategic progress, most importantly with a range of digital projects to drive both page views and revenue, the effects of which we expect to see in the second half of the year."