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LONDON, July 28 British newspaper publisher
Trinity Mirror said it expected its full-year results to
be marginally ahead of expectations, enabling it to pay a
dividend for the first time since 2008.
Shares in Trinity, which dates back to 1832, were up 5.5
percent in early Monday trading on the improving trends, giving
it a market capitalisation of 486 million pounds ($825 million).
Trinity, which has been battling falling circulation and
lower advertising rates at its Daily and Sunday Mirror titles,
said the pace of revenue decline had improved in the first six
months of the year, down 2.3 percent compared with the 6 percent
fall it recorded in 2013.
The rate of decline also improved throughout the six months,
down only 1.4 percent in May and June, helped in part by a jump
in revenue from its digital business, where average monthly page
views are up by 132 percent. The rate of decline from print
revenue also eased.
Chief Executive Simon Fox told reporters he would now be
disappointed if the group was not moving into revenue growth
towards the end of next year.
"This momentum gives the board confidence that our
performance for the year will be marginally ahead of
expectations," Fox said.
Trinity reported first-half profit down 2.2 percent at 48.2
million pounds. It will recommend a final dividend for 2014 of 3
pence per share, which would be payable in June 2015.
"At this stage the board expects paying annual dividends of
some 5 pence per share from 2015," it said.
The one cloud hanging over the publisher is the allegation
that some journalists at the Mirror titles engaged in phone
hacking and making illegal payments to public officials.
Rupert Murdoch's British business closed its News of the
World Sunday title in 2011 after it admitted illegality at the
tabloid and Piers Morgan has been questioned in connection with
allegations of phone hacking during his time editing the Daily
Trinity Mirror said it had provided 4 million pounds in the
first half of the year to cover the cost of dealing with and
resolving any claims.
($1 = 0.5889 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Kate Holton, Editing by Paul Sandle and Louise