LONDON, May 24 (Reuters) - Britain’s Press Association, a news and information business, said on Thursday it faced a tough year ahead due to ongoing revenue and cost-cutting pressures in the UK newspaper industry and foreign exchange factors.
Chief Executive Paul Potts said amid the “very challenging” issues facing the company and information industry the business would work to expand its multi-media platform internationally.
A key target this year would be selling PA’s weather routing software to the Asian shipping industry as well as opening a second data centre in Pune, northern India, he said.
The company said in its annual report published on Thursday that 2006 pretax profit rose to 8.4 million pounds ($16.70 million) from 7.5 million in 2005. Turnover rose 15 percent to 87 million pounds.
The Press Association (PA) is a private company with 27 shareholders, including Associated Newspaper Holdings Ltd., a unit of Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGOa.L); Trinity Mirror Plc TNI.L, United Business Media UBM. and the News International media group, which is part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. NWSa.N business.
The business now operates in 18 countries with one third of total group revenues coming from outside the UK.
“PA’s international operations mean that the group’s performance is now less dependent on any one national market but the challenges facing newspapers in the UK will continue to have an impact on PA in 2007,” said PA’s chairman Harry Roche.
Roche said PA was exposed to a weak Canadian dollar and had budgeted for a loss at SportsTicker, a U.S. supplier of sports data that it bought last year. The PA owns a 50 percent stake in CNW Group, Canada’s largest press release distributor, webcast producer and regulatory filer.
Roche also announced on Thursday that he would retire from the board at next year’s annual meeting following 20 years as a director. CEO Potts will take on the executive chairman role.