Updated: 10/06/12 : 09:56:21
The Independent News and Media agm in Dublin was told that cost cutting would continue to be paramount after savings of E21.6m achieved last year. CEO Vincent Crowley told the meeting that the group head office in Citywest in Dublin is to be transferred to the Irish operations HQ in Talbot Street.
This will reduce headcount in the merged head office. Furthermore Mr Crowley's former role as chief operating officer will not be filled. Operating margins were improved by last year's cost cutting to 13.5pc. "When set against tough market conditions, this is, we believe, a reasonable performance," Mr Crowley said. "We have also closed the London office and exited the lease effective 30 June this year.
In addition we have also announced a redundancy programme in the Sunday World which has been fully subscribed," Mr Crowley added. Last year the group's debt was reduced by E47million or ten per cent. "Clearly, we recognise that debt paydown, of itself, is not a strategic objective but it will drive shareholder returns as value is transferred from debt to equity," he added. Advertising revenues are falling and visibility of ad revenue remains short, he said, in a difficult macro-economic climate.
"Our franchise is resilient, relevant and profitable in an ever-competitive media landscape. Innovation will continue to define our products and our marketing," he said. Online revenues grew by 10pc last year and are up 17pc so far this year. Chairman James Osbourne told the meeting that a number of independent board directors will be appointed following the departure of Brian Hillery and Gavin O'Reilly. Chairman James Osbourne is facing the prospect of being voted off the board less than one year after being appointed.