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Johnston Press issues trading update

Johnston Press plc yesterday issued a trading update for the period from 1 January 2018 to 31 May 2018 and an update on its Strategic Review, ahead of its AGM.

Johnston Press issues trading update

According to Johnston Press plc:

Trading and Outlook

Trading so far this year has seen Group revenues down 9%, but a continuing strong performance from the i newspaper. Expectations for the full calendar year 2018 remain in line with market expectations.

The trading environment remains extremely challenging, exacerbated in recent months by uncertainty around future paper costs and the impact of GDPR on digital advertising revenues. We expect to see continued pressure on revenues in the second half of the year, and a requirement for cost savings.

Cash at bank at the end of May was £24.6 million.

Strategic Review Update

On 29 March 2017, the Group announced it had commenced a Strategic Review to assess the financing options available to the Group in relation to its £220 million 8.625% senior secured notes, which become due for repayment on 1 June 2019 (the "Bonds"). The Board subsequently announced on 2 November 2017 that an ad hoc committee of bondholders had been formed to consider certain potential amendments to the Group's capital structure, combined with certain proposed amendments to the Group's pension scheme.

No agreement on these potential amendments has been reached. However, the Group is continuing to work with the ad hoc committee and its other stakeholders on a number of alternative strategic options for the restructuring or refinancing of the Bonds prior to June 2019. As stated in the Group's 2017 Annual Report, any proposal that results from these discussions will remain subject to negotiation and consent of relevant stakeholders, and there can be no certainty that a formal proposal will be forthcoming.