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Johnston Press narrows losses

Johnston Press has said it is making "solid progress" towards halting the decline in its revenues despite a 4.3 per cent fall in the first six months of the year.

Underlying half-year revenues at the publishing group dropped to £135.8 million, though this is an improvement on the 5.3 per cent fall in the same period a year ago.

Johnston, whose publications include the Scotsman and the Edinburgh Evening News, said pre-tax profits jumped from £2.1 million in the year-ago period to £6.1 million, excluding one-off changes such as a refinancing earlier this year. Including one-off items, the firm's pre-tax losses narrowed to £6.3 million, compared to £254 million a year ago.

Print advertising, which represents around half of the company's turnover, fell by an underling 8.7 per cent to £70.8 million. Digital advertising, meanwhile, soared 23.4 per cent higher to £14.1 million.

The company cut £7.1 million in costs, saving 6.2 per cent of its total expenses compared to last year.

"There is a real momentum gathering pace within the Group, with innovation and creativity at the heart of new launches during [the first six months]," said chief executive Ashley Highfield in a statement.

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