The statement from Trinity Mirror:
We continue to make progress against our strategic initiatives whilst supporting profits and delivering strong cash flows which will contribute to a further fall in net debt. The Board expects performance* for the year to be in line with expectations.
Group revenue** on a like for like basis is expected to fall by 9% in the fourth quarter. We experienced improving trends in publishing digital display and transactional revenues which are expected to grow by 20% in the final quarter, which is offset by expected declines in print advertising and circulation revenue of 21% and 7% respectively. Classified publishing digital revenue, which is substantially jointly sold with print, remains under pressure reducing expected publishing digital revenue growth for the quarter to 10%.
During November 2017, the Group completed the £10 million share repurchase programme announced in August 2016. The Group acquired a total of 10 million shares.
Triennial Pension Funding Valuations
The 31 December 2016 triennial pension funding valuations have progressed well during the year and we expect these to be finalised ahead of the statutory deadline of 31 March 2018. We have agreed with the Trustees that annual contributions to the three pension schemes will increase by £8 million to £44 million per annum for a period of 10 years commencing 2018. The increase in annual contributions reflects the increase in deficits since the last valuation which has been largely driven by the fall in long term interest rates.
Proposed acquisition of 100% of the publishing assets of Northern & Shell
Further to the update on 9 October 2017, we continue to make good progress with the proposed acquisition of 100% of the publishing assets of Northern & Shell. Further updates will be provided as and when appropriate.
* On an adjusted basis excluding non-recurring items, restructuring charges in respect of cost reduction measures, the amortisation of intangible assets, the pension administrative expenses, the retranslation of foreign currency borrowings, the impact of fair value changes on derivative financial instruments, the pension finance charge and the impact of tax legislation changes.
** The like for like trends for 2017 exclude from the 2016 comparative: the extra week of trading in 2016, the Independent print and distribution contract which ceased in April 2016, Rippleffect which was sold in August 2016, the four Metros handed back to DMGT and other portfolio changes.