Mirror and Express group company shares hit highest in a decade as digital revenues jump 25%

LaToya Harding
·2-min read
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09:  Issues of the Daily Mirror, Daily Star and Daily Express are seen on February 9, 2018 in London, England.  The Trinity Mirror media group has agreed to pay £126.7m for Northern & Shell, the media company which publishes the Express and Star newspapers, as well as magazines OK!, New! and Star.  (Photo Illustration by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
The group, which owns titles such as the Mirror and Express, also revealed that profits would beat market expectations. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Newspaper publisher Reach (RCH.L) surged as much as 30% on Friday, to its highest level in a decade, after digital revenues jumped 24.9% in its fourth quarter, up from 13.4% in the previous three months.

The firm, which owns titles such as the Mirror and Express and is the UK’s largest regional news media group, also revealed that profits would beat market expectations.

It said underlying operating profit would be in the range of £130m ($176m) to £135m following the record digital revenue performance. Analysts had expected profits of £122m.

Print circulation sales slumped 11.7% during the quarter as the coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc, but it was an improvement on the 12.6% decline in the third quarter.

Reach said it had passed the milestone of 5 million online customer registrations, which it said was crucial to its business development plans.

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Jim Mullen, chief executive, said: “It is a testament to our people that Reach has not only dealt with the unique challenges 2020 has presented, but we have accelerated our strategy and we are ahead of where we expected to be.

“The new COVID-19 restrictions bring macro-economic uncertainty, but the changes made in the business during 2020 to develop a new, more efficient operating model put us in a strong competitive position.”

In July last year, the group said that it would cut 550 jobs, amounting to just over 10% of its workforce, as it battled to shore up its finances.

This month Reach will launch new sites covering Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire as well as expanding its MyLondon editorial team.

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