Reach PLC (LON:RCH), the owner of the Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers, saw its shares soar on Friday after the publishing group said it now expects its 2020 operating profit to be “ahead of market expectations” following a record performance for its digital business in the fourth quarter (Q4).
In an update, the company said it now expects operating profit for the year to be between GBP130mln-GBP135mln after revenues from the digital division surged 24.9% in Q4 compared to 13.4% growth in Q3. Reach said the trends contributed to an improved total revenue decline in Q4 of 10.2% from a 14.8% fall in Q3.
The firm also said that in December it had reached a milestone of 5mln online customer registrations while also completing the development of Reach ID, its customer insight platform which provides a combined view of a user’s activity across all of its sites.
Reach said these steps enables it to use data and insights to “drive new product innovations and to grow revenue through more targeted brand opportunities and commercial partnerships”, adding that in January it will launch new sites covering Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire as well as expand its MyLondon editorial team.
“It is a testament to our people that Reach has not only dealt with the unique challenges 2020 has presented, but we have accelerated our strategy and we are ahead of where we expected to be. The new COVID-19 restrictions bring macro-economic uncertainty, but the changes made in the business during 2020 to develop a new, more efficient operating model put us in a strong competitive position”, Reach chief executive Jim Mullen said in a statement.
Reach shares surged 25% to 219.5p in early trading on Friday.