Print Round-Up: Smiths News Profits Fall; DMGT’s Debt Downgrade; Northcliffe Papers Drop Editions

imageDMGT Downgraded: Credit rating agency Standard and Poors downgraded Daily Mail (LSE: DMGT) and General Trust’s long-term and short-term ratings on Friday because of “worse than expected declines in the group’s advertising revenues”. The agency’s long-term rating on DMGT’s unsecured debt goes from BB+ to BBB- while its short-term outlook on the publisher goes from A-3 to B. Its overall outlook is “negative”. The report calculates DMGT’s debt had reached five times EBDITA as of March 31 — though it points out that otherwise the Daily Mail publisher is a well-run, diversified business with a healthy B2B portfolio. DMGT itself issued a statement pointing out the rating has “no effect on its financing arrangements”. Release.
Smiths News: Bad news for print media is bad news for print media distributors. Smiths News, the UK’s second-largest magazine and newspaper distributor, posted big drops in earnings for the six months to February 28: pre-tax profit was down to £10.7 million, compared to £16.1 million in the same period 12 months ago, on revenues £9 million lower year on year at £609.4 million. Revenue from newspaper distribution actually increased during the period thanks to some heavy-duty cover-price discounting by News International’s titles and the Daily Star. Magazine revenue was however down eight percent at £243.9 million. Release (pdf).
Northcliffe Media: It’s a slow death for the UK’s big city regional newspapers. Three Northcliffe Media titles, the Derby Evening Telegraph, the Leicester Mercury and the Stoke Sentinel have cut the number of editions they publish and moved to overnight printing. The Telegraph goes from two to one editions and loses the Evening bit of its title while the others go from three to four. City-based evening papers have traditionally printed four or more editions throughout the day but to save production and distribution costs, scores of titles have instead switched to overnight. Most major newspaper companies, including Northcliffe, now understand that the fastest — and most cost effective — way to publish news is online. From HTFP.
Spanish newspaper cuts: We know how badly British newspapers are faring right now, but what about the rest of Europe? In Spain more than 2,200 of the country’s 30,000 journalists have been made redundant since last June, prompting the government there to offer the industry state aid and access to state credit. Free newspaper group Metro International shut down its Spanish operations in December. From