INM compensates for print decline with digital land grab

Print advertising is down but the group's investment in online news is paying off

Independent News and Media (INM) has announced a 22.5% bounce in pretax profits - growing to €18.5m.

The group says that it is managing to offset losses connected to the continued fall-off in print sales through a 23.4% jump in digital advertising revenue.

It also experienced growth in its distribution business and cut its operating costs.

Its net assets rose to a standing of €37.3m - that's up from  €27.6m 12 months ago. Its cash balance swelled to €62.4m - up from €35m last year.

The Irish Independent accounts for 50% of all daily newspaper sales in Ireland - while The Sunday Independent commands 65% of the Sunday broadsheet market.

Its main digital property Independent.ie boasts an average of 9.4m unique visitors per month.

During the first half of 2016 it acquired the remaining 50% stake in CarsIreland.ie and Greer Publications - a business magazine publisher based in Northern Ireland.

INM does not propose to pay a dividend in 2016 - it plans to continue to invest heavily in expanding its digital offerings.

Commenting on the results, Robert Pitt, Group Chief Executive Officer, said, "Despite a challenging trading environment, the Group performed well in the first half of 2016.

"While the outlook for the second half of the year continues to be challenging, particularly in print advertising, the Group will continue to deal with those challenges pro-actively ... Considering the challenges INM faces and I am sure they will continue to work tirelessly to both mitigate any impacts and also build INM’s future."