Guardian Media Group plc (GMG) unveils results for the financial year ended 30 March 2014
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Guardian Media Group (GMG) today reported full-year results showing significantly increased pre-tax profits of £549.2m for the 12 months ending March 30, 2014, following the sale of its 50.1% stake in Trader Media Group (Trader Media) to Funds advised by its joint venture partner Apax Partners.
Proceeds from the Trader Media disposal helped transform GMG’s balance sheet, leading to a threefold increase in its cash and investment fund to £842.7m at the financial year end.
Andrew Miller, GMG Chief Executive, said:
“We successfully completed the divestment of Trader Media in a transaction that will sustain our finances for generations to come. This significant deal has coincided with an encouraging increase in underlying revenues, particularly from digital activities.”
“In the current year, we must focus relentlessly on reducing underlying operating losses at Guardian News & Media, which continues to be impacted by the volatile trading conditions and structural changes sweeping the newspaper industry.”
Revenues from continuing operations rose 6.8% to £210.2m, with digital revenues at GNM rising 24% to £69.5m. At the end of the financial year, the Guardian’s online audience was 102.3 million monthly unique browsers, up from 78.3 million in March 2013.
Underlying operating losses at GNM narrowed to £19.4m, compared with £26.6m in the prior financial year. At the statutory reported level, EBITA improved by £3.2m after accounting for a number of one-off items.
For GMG as a whole, profit before tax – including discontinued operations – rose by £523.3m to £549.2m, mainly reflecting profit on the disposal of Trader Media.
Neil Berkett, Chair of GMG, said:
“The latest full-year results show that GMG is well on track with its five-year transformation plan. Whilst we have strengthened our financial resources significantly with the Trader Media transaction, the Group has generated strong digital-revenue growth and broadly flat print revenue. Our underlying performance is improving amid continued cost discipline, improved audience reach and innovation in award-winning editorial products.”
Performance Highlights include:
- Guardian Australia – Launched on 27th May 2013, Guardian Australia has since garnered a loyal following among readers by offering a broad range of domestic and international news and hard-hitting investigative journalism, lively debate and commentary, witty sports coverage and engaging culture and features content. It has become the third most read quality newspaper website in Australia, reaching 5.6m unique browsers in May 2014, an increase of 81% year-on-year.
- Guardian US delivered record online traffic in 2013 with more than 20 million unique monthly users (ComScore), representing year-on-year growth of 12%. Revenues from US operations more than doubled on the previous 12-month period, reflecting advertising demand and sponsorship deals with partners such as HSBC, Netflix and Airbnb. Editorially, The Guardian won numerous journalism awards in North America for its coverage of the NSA revelations, culminating with the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Building on its existing US operations, Guardian US has made a number of high-profile appointments and is planning further expansion of its editorial team. GNM is also opening a West Coast office to accelerate its commercial and digital presence, leveraging business and technology links in Silicon Valley and other parts of California.
- The NSA revelations - In a year that included a raft of stories of national and international importance, one scoop stands out: the extraordinary revelations following the biggest intelligence leak in history, provided by Edward Snowden. The Guardian’s resulting reporting about the surveillance activities of the NSA and GCHQ dominated the global news agenda from June 2013 onwards, and has resulted in increased scrutiny and reform across the globe.
- Newspaper of the Year – In March 2014, Guardian was named Newspaper of the Year at the UK Press Awards for its reporting on government surveillance. Its website, theguardian.com, was also awarded the digital award.
- Pulitzer Prize for public service – In April 2014, the Guardian was awarded the highest accolade in US journalism, winning the Pulitzer Prize for public service for its groundbreaking articles on the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities based on the leaks of Edward Snowden.
- theguardian.com – The launches of GNM’s digital-first strategy and Guardian US in 2011 and Guardian Australia in 2013 allowed the Guardian to grow its global audience rapidly, showing a clear appetite for the Guardian’s values, views and content around the world. In August 2013 GNM undertook what Google has since described as the largest domain move ever, migrating all of GNM’s digital content to one truly global domain – theguardian.com. For the Guardian’s millions of online readers all over the world, this streamlined several domains into one core destination for award-winning content.
- Guardian Labs – In February 2014 GNM launched its new branded content and innovation agency, Guardian Labs, with a seven-figure partnership deal with Unilever. Guardian Labs co-creates bespoke ideas, content and platforms, allowing brands to reach and engage with audiences in bold and compelling ways.
- 100m unique browsers – The Guardian broke through the 100 million monthly unique browser barrier for the first time in March 2014, according to ABC data. A record 102,286,881 monthly unique browsers accessed Guardian content during the month, driven by strong increases in international traffic as well as continued growth in the UK. This historic landmark is testament to the success of the Guardian’s digital first strategy, which has allowed it to offer quality, award-winning journalism to more and more readers across the globe.
1. 2013 has been restated to exclude Radio, Property Services Group and the Group’s share of Trader Media Group
2. 2013 has been restated to exclude the Group’s share of profit on Top Right Group’s sale of the trade and assets of CAP Motor Research
3. 2013 has been restated to exclude Kable as the trade and assets of Kable were sold in that year
4. Includes start up investments for Membership and Guardian in Australia
Guardian Media Group plc
Group Director of Communications
Guardian Media Group
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About The Scott Trust Ltd
The ultimate owner of the Guardian is The Scott Trust, which was originally created as a trust in 1936 to safeguard the title’s journalistic freedom. In 2008 it was replaced by a limited company with the same core purpose of the original trust: to secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity, while its subsidiary aims are to champion its principles and to promote freedom of the press in the UK and elsewhere. Other than to cover expense, The Scott Trust takes no dividend from the Group’s businesses, whose profits are instead reinvested to sustain journalism that is free from commercial or political interference.
Guardian Media Group (GMG) is one of the UK’s leading media organisations. Its core business is Guardian News & Media (GNM), publisher of theguardian.com and the Guardian and Observer newspapers. GMG also manages investments such as Top Right Group whose purpose is to provide financial support for the development of GNM’s journalism. GMG delivers the financial security that allows The Scott Trust to achieve its central objective: the editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity. The business conduct of the Group is guided by The Scott Trust values.