UPDATE 2-Trinity Mirror sees signs of advertising pick-up

Thu Nov 8, 2012 12:18pm GMT

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* Sees 2012 profit flat at 104.5 mln stg, ahead of market forecasts

* Says advertising picks up in Nov., cost cuts on track

* Says yet to be served with claims on phone hacking allegations

* Shares up 4.5 pct

By Sarah Young

LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - British newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror said on Thursday it had seen a pick-up in advertising in November, sending its shares up more than four percent.

Advertising revenues at the Daily Mirror in particular have improved in the month so far, the group said, giving it confidence on profit targets.

This could signal an advertising turnaround after months of gloom. The group said in the 17 weeks to Oct. 28 ad revenue fell 12 percent.

"They're talking about a big swing in November on advertising. I think this'll be the main take-away," Panmure Gordon analyst Alex Degroote said. He said he believed the pick-up was driven by mobile phone companies promoting 4G networks and retailers.

The advertising market has been in the doldrums due to the weak economic climate. This was highlighted last month when WPP , the world's biggest advertising group, cut its sales outlook for this year.

Newspaper advertising has also been squeezed by readers moving online.

The company, which owns 100 regional titles as well as the flagship Daily Mirror tabloid, said it expected 2012 profit to match last year's 104.5 million pound ($167 million) level, putting it on track to beat a current Thomson Reuters consensus forecast of 96 million pounds.

PHONE HACKING

The Daily Mirror looks set to be dragged into the phone hacking scandal which has knocked the reputation of British journalism but Trinity Mirror said it has yet to be formally accused.

Last month, a lawyer filed the claims against Trinity Mirror on behalf of four people, including former England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Trinity Mirror said on Thursday it would issue notices requiring claims over phone hacking allegations to be served. It said it has not yet received legal papers.

Rival newspaper group News International has settled dozens of civil cases, paying tens of millions of pounds, and some of its journalists are still facing criminal charges over the allegations that staff routinely hacked into voicemail messages to generate stories.

COST CONTROL

Trinity Mirror has been cutting costs because of the tough economic climate. It said it was on track to deliver cost savings of 20 million pounds in 2012 and that it paid down some 19 million pounds of debt in the period.

Shares in Trinity Mirror gained 4.15 percent to 69 pence at 1157 GMT, valuing the firm at over 170 million pounds.

Trinity Mirror said there was nothing further to say at this stage on the possibility of it taking a minority stake in a new group formed by combining the assets of privately owned Yattendon's Iliffe News & Media with Northcliffe's 84 newspapers. Northcliffe is owned by Daily Mail

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