Johnston Press hails stable financial platform

<p>Johnston Press is continuing with its turnaround plan.</p>

The share price of Johnston Press is down today (December 30th), although the company has claimed it is now on a stable financial platform.

Johnston, which publishes newspapers including The Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, said the pressure of managing its high levels of debt has been eased by its lenders.

At the end of June, Johnston announced that it was struggling with over £300 million of debt, but a series of cost-cutting measures have brought the firm's finances under control.

In a statement released on Friday, the company announced that it has secured agreement from its lenders to "reset its financial covenants through to the maturity of its debt facilities in September 2015".

Future strategy

Chief executive officer at Johnston Press Ashley Highfield stated that he is pleased with the support the firm has been getting from its lenders, explaining this means the company now has "a clear path for the continued pursuit of our operational strategy, which has shown very encouraging developments in 2013".

He said: "We plan to refinance the group in 2014 and will continue to work closely with our lenders and their financial advisers for that process. A stable medium-term capital structure will support the acceleration of our digital growth strategy and would expedite the projected return to overall top line growth."

Despite Johnston becoming increasingly bullish about its financial position, the share price of the firm is slightly down in the early stages of trading this morning.

By 08:12 GMT on the London Stock Exchange, stocks in the publisher were 1.5 per cent down on the start of the day, although they had recovered somewhat from a 2.5 per cent fall earlier.

Johnston also announced that its like for like operating profit increased by 4.3 per cent in the six months to June 2013, which was hailed as the first such increase in seven years. Johnston recorded a 7.8 per cent rise in the 18 weeks to October 2013.

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