BERMUDA-Profits decline for major newspaper


Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd , owners of the island’s only remaining newspaper,  has seen its profits plummet compared to last year, blaming a slowdown in the economy for the drop.

The company announced on Friday that it made a profit of US$285,000 in the first six months of its fiscal year, down from $1.42 million a year earlier.

The company, which owns the Royal Gazette newspaper, as well as commercial printing, real estate and retail interests, said the decrease in profitability was the result of a year-on-year decline of operating revenues of US$1.95 million in the half-year ended on March 31, 2019.

In its interim report, the company said “management is working tirelessly to find operating efficiencies and ways to further reduce operating costs to offset the most recent slowdown in the economy. Year to date, management have reduced costs by US$852,000, as compared to the same six-month period last year”.

The company said its publishing and retail division saw a US$1.58 million, or 17 per cent, decrease “as a result of a slowdown in the Bermuda economy and changing consumer behaviours”.

There was also a 16 per cent decrease in rental revenue, and a four per cent decrease in commercial printing revenue. Operating revenue was US$11.22 million.

In its report, the company said it had made the “difficult decision” in 2018 to exit the commercial stationery supply business, and that the management and board continued to review operating results of all divisions to ensure that loss-making businesses are not being funded at the expense of shareholders.

The Gazette publishes daily apart from Sundays but its circulation continues to slide. Its sister weekly, the Mid-Ocean News, closed 10 years ago while the rival Bermuda Sun, a bi-weekly, ended operations in 2014.

The Gazette is now the only newspaper on sale in Bermuda.

Earlier this year, the Phoenix Stores group, the sole supplier, stopped bringing in papers from around the world, saying their importation was no longer viable in an age of electronic communication.

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