Blog Post

Earnings: Guardian Media Group Swings To £89.8 Million Loss

It has warned throughout the year that its full year numbers would be grim and here’s the proof: for the year to March 29 Guardian Media Group made a pre-tax loss of £89.8 million ($148.8 million) and revenue of £405.4 million ($672.1 million), almost £100 million less than in 2007-8. Revenue rises to £637.9 million ($1.05 billion) when including its shares in B2B publisher Emap and Trader Media Group — and the full-year loss is partly due to selling half its stake in TMG to Apax Partners. But the cost cuts across GMG’s operations look set to continue: chair Amelia Fawcett says the company needs to “re-examine and reshape many of our existing business models if we are to continue to be successful,” though she adds that GMG’s unusual ownership structures offers “some protection from the current economic storm.”

Release | Annual report

Guardian News & Media: GNM made an operating loss of £36.8 million ($61. million) for 2008-9 — compared to a loss of £26.4 million ($43.7 million) a year earlier — on turnover of £253.6 million ($420.4 million), a £8.3 million drop year on year. GMG says the division — which publishes The Guardian, The Observer and the internationally-minded Guardian.co.uk — is affected by “on-going structural issues”, which have led to a series of voluntary redundancies and a recruitment freeze. Disclosure: paidContent:UK’s parent company ContentNext Media is a wholly owned subsidiary of GNM.

GMG Regional: Perhaps the worst hit of GMG’s empire, the regional division made profits of £500,000 ($824,000), a tiny amount compared to the £14.3 million ($23.7 million) profit in 2008 — and GMG says since the end of the financial year things have got worse and the division is running at a loss. The division cut almost 300 jobs at Manchester Evening News publisher MEN Media and at Reading Evening Post publisher Surrey & Berkshire Media. Property revenue fell by 46 percent, recruitment by 34 percent, so revenue is down £26 million to £94.5 million ($156.6 million).

Trader Media Group TMG, in which GMG has a 50 percent stake, made profit before exceptionals £110.8 million ($183.6 million) — slightly down on 2008’s £119.8 million ($198.6 million) — and revenue of £296 million ($490.7 million) through its stable of print titles and Autotrader.co.uk. The company as a whole made 85 percent of its profits from digital, compared to 70 percent a year ago as unique monthly users to Autotrader.co.uk grew to around 10 million.

Emap: The B2B publisher, which GMG also owns half of, made profit before exceptionals of £98.2 million ($162.8 million) and revenue of £284.9 million ($472.3 million). Like every other publisher It’s had its problems and has been force to make some layoffs, but GMG points out its business model is “evenly distributed” between data, events and publishing — and its 35 percent profit margin would make most news publishers somewhat envious right now.