Trinity Mirror boasted continued progress with its strategy of growing digital sales and said results would be in-line with expectations despite continued declines in print advertising and circulation revenues.
The latter meant that group sales were expected to fall by 9% on a like-for-like basis at the half-year stage, although its six-month and full-year results would be in-line with management's expectations, the company said in a trading update.

For the 26 weeks to 2 July, total publishing revenues were seen down by 10%, with a 5% increase in digital partially offsetting a 12% fall in print.

Digital display and transactional revenues grew by 18% due to strong growth in Trinity's digital audience, while publishing print advertising and circulation revenue fell by 21% and 6%, respectively over the period.

Management also told markets it was continuing to keep a tight rein on costs to support cash flow, with net debt having fallen during the reporting period.

It also secured a five-year print and distribution contract for the Guardian and Observer newspapers from early 2018.

On the negative side of the ledger, the lengthy process of settling civil claims related to phone hacking meant it was forced to increase its provisions for them by £7.5m.

However, the board was confident that the exposures arising from those historical events were manageable and would not undermine the delivery of the group's strategy.

Since its share buyback programme was announced in August 2016, the group also said it had bought back 6.6m shares for £6.8m and paid £7.5m to the pension schemes relating to the repurchase scheme.

Commenting on the outlook, company chief Simon Fox said: “The trading environment for print in the first half remained volatile but we remain on course to meet our expectations for the year. I anticipate that the second half will show improving revenue momentum as we benefit from initiatives implemented during the first half of the year.”

As of 1129 BST shares in the company were ahead by 4.21% to 99.0p.