National World reports as follows:
Operating profit up 36%, digital revenue up 41%, cash balance of £25.7 million
- Strong performance despite challenging trading environment with revenue up 3% to £43.5 million, adjusted operating profit up 36% to £5.7 million and adjusted EBITDA up 28% to £5.9 million.
- Robust digital revenue growth, up 41% year-on-year to £8.2 million. There has been volatility in audience numbers because of public sentiment in the face of economic and news events affecting all media, but the revenue impact has been mitigated by stronger yields and increased video advertising, (the latter more than doubling year-on-year).
- Continued growth from National and City World websites. Nationalworld.com continues to deliver strong growth with average monthly page views of 15.6 million in H1 2022, one year after its launch. The seven City World sites are delivering average monthly page views of 4.7 million with new launches to follow.
- Investment. We continue to invest, with a further £1.2 million (£2.4 million annualised in 2023) planned for the second half of 2022. This is in digital content, development and launches that we anticipate will deliver further growth in 2023.
- Incremental cost savings of £0.3 million were delivered in the period and we are on track to deliver £1.2 million of further savings in the second half with c£3.0 million of annualised cost savings by the end of the year with restructuring costs of c£2.5 million.
- Strong balance sheet with significant financial flexibility, closing cash balance of £25.7 million at 2 July 2022, with outstanding debt of £1.0 million and deferred consideration of £2.5 million.
- The trading environment remains difficult with the prospect of a further slowdown in the UK economy. Despite these macro-economic challenges, increased investment in the development of our portfolio of digital sites and commercial opportunities and the tight management of the cost base will support future profits and cash flow. At this stage, the board expects the business will perform in line with its expectations. As the Group successfully implements its strategy, the board anticipates being able to initiate dividends at the time of announcing the 2022 full year results with a progressive dividend policy.
Commenting on the results, chairman, David Montgomery, said: “We have had a strong first half for 2022 despite the uncertain economic environment. Investment in digital content and development has been increased to transform the business for growth whilst driving efficiencies to manage the challenges presented by the economy. The transformation is underpinned by re-skilling of the workforce to reduce dependency on news by widening the agenda with original content that can be monetised. Automation will also increase efficiency as we transition the business. The creation of this new model, and the recent expansion into a UK wide market, means that management can target specific acquisitions, several of which are being actively pursued.”
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