Archive for the 'FTSE' Category

09
Feb
09

GAZETTE: The End Is Nigh

Mr Monkey reckons the newspaper industry has moved towards the end of middle-age, growing increasingly aware of its own mortality.

Like someone nearing retirement, it might well expect to have a couple of decades left before it’s ready to start pushing up the daisies.

However, the reality is many groups haven’t led the healthiest of lifestyles. Instead of investing for the future, they became greedier and greedier in the margins they chased.

It wasn’t so long ago Johnston Press, whose titles include the Shields Gazette and the Sunderland Echo, were the toast of the industry. Thirty per cent profits.

Why aren’t we making that, they chorused in boardrooms up and down the land.

Now look at them; they’re shares are not worth a bag of crisps.

It’s easy to be wise with hindsight but like all newspaper groups, they never really “got” the internet until it started getting to them.

In late middle-age it seems Johnston Press may well be prone to a sudden heart attack.

Mr Monkey can’t help wondering how long the banks are going to put up with their debt mountain – which is approaching half a billion pounds – and given they’re falling revenues it won’t be long before they decide it’s time to foreclose.

It must be worrying times for those employed by the Gazette – do yourselves a favour and get out before it’s too late – apparently Papa John Szymanski is already looking.

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08
Dec
08

Mr Monkey Acquires A Stake In The Gazette

Mr Monkey has been watching the financial performance of Johnston Press the company that owns The Malcolm Fanzine Shields Gazette closely over the past 6 months. It seems they’ve not been fairing too well of late and thier share price has reached rock bottom.

One of Mr Monkey’s financial advisers has been keeping a close eye on things and for the past two months this chimp has been contemplating buying some of the company’s shares. Mr Monkey thought it would not only make financial sense, but it would also allow a bit of monkey business at the company’s AGM – imagine Papa John’s Szymanski’s face when questions aboutthe Shields Gazette and his relationship with council leader Iain Malcolm are tabled at the AGM?

Mr Monkey can now confirm that one of his holding companies has recently acquired shares in Johnston Press and will now be privy to shareholders information which he will happily share with readers of this blog.

Over the past couple of years Johnston Press has been finding trading conditions difficult and in June there was a rights issue to raise funds to help alleviate the company’s debt burden – at that time shares were valued at 53p – today the value of those shares have fallen to just 9p.

On December 24th 2007 the share price was £2.76 and just under a year later (5th December 2008) they had fallen to 8p.

Mr Monkey reckons times are hard at the Gazette Johnston Press and they’re going to get even harder for Papa John over the coming months.