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Bermuda Press Holdings posts $399,000 half-year profit

Earnings improve: Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd, owner of The Royal Gazette, has reported a half-year profit of $399,000 (File photograph)

Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd made a profit of $399,000 for the six months ended March 31. That compares to a net loss of $110,000 for the same period a year ago.

Operating revenues fell by $1.02 million, or 9 per cent, to $10.06 million for the six months.

The group’s publishing and retail, and commercial printing pulled in less income. Its local real estate holdings remained the most profitable segment with an overall occupancy rate of 95 per cent at the end of the period.

BPHL said its increased profitability for the period was due to “restructuring undertaken by our business units in response to the Covid-19 restrictions and weakness in the overall the local economy. The restructuring has included staff accepting temporary wage reductions and/or reductions in working hours”.

It said Covid-19 restrictions have an ongoing detrimental effect on the Bermuda economy with a particular impact on the local business sector.

Basic earnings per share increased to 28 cents, compared to a loss of $110,000, or eight cents per share, for the corresponding period last year.

The Bermuda Stock Exchange-listed company’s board of directors opted to suspend the regular seven cents per share dividend, starting with the quarter ended March 31, 2020, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic's economic impact on business operations. The board will continue to review the company's performance and the ability to resume dividend payments to shareholders.

BPHL, parent company of The Royal Gazette, said the publishing and retail division saw a 10 per cent, or $807,000, decrease in revenue. BPHL attributed the fall to “business closures, reduced store capacity and the shift to online ordering and delivery resulted in reduced spending on advertising.”

Commercial printing revenue fell 12 per cent, or $225,000. The company said the shift to remote working and corporate sustainable initiatives decreased the demand for traditional printed materials.

BPHL said highlights during the period included:

The Royal Gazette continuing its investment in the people and systems required to meet the “Digital First” challenge. It said the shift towards digital delivery of information and services "is a priority to ensure the Gazette continues its centuries’ long duty providing independent journalism in Bermuda, while remaining a viable business".

• A new tenant took occupancy of the second floor space at the Roger Davidson building on January 1.

• The Stationery Store is expanding its product offering by reoccupying the first floor space of the Roger Davidson building. A new tenant will be sought once the local economy improves post pandemic.

• Print operations continued to be restructured to align with changing patterns in local demand for printing.

• Office Solutions service staff have been trained on the next generation of Canon products.

In its interim report to shareholders, BPHL said: “Your company’s management continues to work diligently to find operating efficiencies and to further reduce costs in the effort to minimise the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on our financial performance.”

It said operating expenses decreased year over year by $1,502,000, with savings found in reduced business activities, pay reductions and operational efficiencies.

It added: "Your company’s management and board continue to review operating results of all divisions to ensure that loss-making businesses are not being funded at the expense of our shareholders."

The board of directors acknowledged and thanked the company's employees for their financial sacrifice, commitment and hard work, and said: "We believe their dedication is to the benefit of both the company and the people of Bermuda."

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Published July 01, 2021 at 8:20 am (Updated July 01, 2021 at 8:20 am)

Bermuda Press Holdings posts $399,000 half-year profit

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