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Daily Mail and General Trust ups dividend despite falling profits and newspaper sales

Sales were down 5% in the first half to end-March, fell 23% in April and shrank 30% in the first four weeks of May

Daily Mail and General Trust -

Daily Mail and General Trust PLC (LON:DMGT) increased its interim dividend despite a 44% fall in first-half profits and ongoing effects from the coronavirus pandemic.

The newspaper publisher said its Daily Mail, Metro and i newspapers were seeing challenging market conditions from the pandemic, along with UK property and its events business, but said its business-to-business (B2B) subscription business remained resilient.

For the six months to 31 March, there was only one month of these effects, but revenue was down 5% at £690mln and adjusted profit before tax fell to £56mln from £100mln this time last year, after selling its stake in Euromoney.

The half-year dividend was increased 3% to 7.5p, with the company highlighting its charity contributions and that it has not taken any government support.

DMGT's chairman, Jonathan Harmsworth, the fourth Viscount Rothermere, is the company's controlling shareholder with a 36% stake.

For April, revenues fell 23% and the group said it made an adjusted operating loss of £3mln as the newspaper revenues contracted 33%, while in the first four weeks of May sales have fallen 30% and a small loss is expected.

“As you would expect, we have taken measured actions on investments and costs, both at a group and individual business level, but our strategy remains the same,” said chief executive Paul Zwillenberg. 

“We will continue to invest, in a disciplined manner, through the cycle where we are confident of the returns. All of our businesses are market-leading and I am highly confident that they will come out of this global crisis stronger and fitter.”

Quick facts: Daily Mail and General Trust

Price: 666 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £14.02 m

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