LONDON British newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror (TNI.L) expects to perform slightly better than the market anticipated this year thanks to higher Sunday circulations following the closure of the News of the World.
The publisher of the popular Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror tabloids said on Thursday its revenue in the 17 weeks to end-October was in line with the same period in 2010, and it had seen an improvement in the rate of decline of ad sales.
"The board expects increased circulation volumes and revenues of our Sunday titles will help deliver performance marginally ahead of the top end of the current range of market expectations in 2011," the company said in a statement.
Trinity Mirror shares rose 2.1 percent to 49 pence by 0844 GMT (3:44 a.m. ET), outperforming a flat European media index .SXMP.
Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper arm News International (NWSA.O) shut down the News of the World (NOTW), at the time the country's most popular Sunday tabloid, in July in an attempt to contain a rapidly escalating phone-hacking scandal.
London brokerage Numis reiterated its "buy" recommendation on Trinity Mirror shares.
"Our positive recommendation reflects our belief that the group will continue to benefit from the NOTW closure into FY12, however we expect News Int to re-enter the Sunday market in the medium term," it said in a note.
Trinity Mirror said the trading environment remained challenging and it expected advertising markets to show year-on- year declines and month-on-month volatility for the rest of 2011 and into 2012.
Advertising revenues fell at both the national and Trinity's 160 regional titles as the British economy remained weak, but at a lower rate than in the first half.
At the nationals, ad sales fell 10 percent, compared with 15 percent in the first half. Circulation increased by the same amount, with volume gains of 61 percent at the Sunday Mirror, 58 percent at The People and 5 percent at the Sunday Mail.
At the regional titles, advertising revenues fell by 7 percent, compared with 9 percent in the first half, with classified ads for recruitment down 9 percent, property down 8 percent and motors down 16 percent. Circulation fell 3 percent.
(Editing by David Holmes)