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Daily Mail group shares drop to five-year low amid ‘challenging conditions’

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DMGT posted a 13 per cent fall in adjusted profits before tax

Shares in the owner of the Daily Mail and Mail Online have fallen by more than 20 per cent after it reported a sharp drop in annual profits and warned of “challenging conditions” in the year ahead.

Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) posted a 13 per cent fall in adjusted profits before tax to £226m for the year to the end of September. Revenues were also down 13 per cent, to £1.66bn. The shares hit a five-year low in early trading today.

The group, which also owns the Mail on Sunday and Metro newspapers, said its business would be “adversely affected by recent disposals and challenging conditions in some of our sectors”.

DMGT is also the largest shareholder in ZPG, which is the company behind portals such as Zoopla and uSwitch.

Chief executive Paul Zwillenberg said the company had “delivered a resilient underlying performance during the year and made good progress against our strategic priorities”.

But said next year’s earnings would be “adversely affected by recent disposals and challenging conditions in some of our sectors”.

While the group expects further growth in digital advertising revenues, it has however warned that “advertising market conditions [were]likely to remain volatile”.

However the MailOnline website moved into profit in the final quarter of the year, with the company expecting it to make its first full-year profit in 2018.

“The question we would have is, if Mail Online is becoming a greater part of the group (17% of revenues in 2017) and is moving into profits and is faster growth, why is the like-for-like revenues trend going backwards as well as the margin.”

DMGT hinted at further asset sales, saying: “Where DMGT is not the best owner, further divestments will be made.”




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