Trinity Mirror PLC (LON:TNI) saw its shares rally in afternoon trading on Monday as the newspaper group – which last week completed its acquisition of the Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers – reported as expected falls in 2017 profits and revenue and unveiled plans to change its name to Reach PLC to reflect the expansion.
For the full-year to 31 December 2017, the newspaper publisher saw its adjusted pre-tax profit fall to £122,6mln, down from £133.2mln a year earlier, as revenue declined to £623.2mln from £713.0mln in 2016.
READ: Red-tops takeover: Daily Mirror owner Trinity Mirror seals deal for Daily Express and Daily Star
Consensus forecasts were for Trinity Mirror's 2017 adjusted pre-tax profits to be £119mln, with total revenue forecast at £622mln.
On a like-for-like basis, the firm said revenue fell by 8.8%, "impacted by the weak print trading environment", though like-for-like publishing digital revenue grew by 7.0% to £83.9mln.
Simon Fox, Trinity Mirror’s chief executive commented: "We once again delivered a strong financial performance in what remains a difficult trading environment for the industry.”
He added: Having made good progress with our strategy in 2017 we will build on this in the year ahead."
The newspaper owner raised its final dividend by 6.0% to 3.55p per share, bringing its total payout for the year to 5.80p, up 6.4% on 2016.
In afternoon trading, Trinity Mirror shares were 2.8% higher at 77.6p having dropped 2% earlier on.
Although Trinity Mirror completed the acquisition of the Express and Star newspapers from Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell last week, news of a Competition and Markets Authority probe and a 'hold separate order' into the deal on Friday somewhat soured any celebratory mood.
In a statement then, Trinity Mirror said It “continues to believe that there will be no reduction in media plurality as a result of the Acquisition, as each newspaper brand will continue with its current editorial positioning, and that there will not be any detrimental impact on competition as a result of the Acquisition.”
-- Updates share price, includes proposed name change --