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Defence of press freedoms cuts into Bermuda Press profits

Bermuda’s premier publishing house, Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd, has reported half-year profits to the end of March of $190,000, down from $399,000 for the comparable period in 2021.

The company, which owns The Royal Gazette, said the income drop came as a result of additional expenses, including the inflationary cost increases in the Bermuda market and the resumption of full staff wages and benefits in the second half of 2021.

The half-year statement added: “The company’s publishing unit has borne significant legal costs before the Supreme Court in defence of the freedom of the press in Bermuda and our ability to report on important matters of public interest.”

Overall, the company’s revenues rose from $10.07 million to $10.13 million.

The report said the slow recovery within the Bermuda economy after the Covid-19 business restrictions, combined with inflation on raw materials, continues to have an impact on the company and the overall Bermudian market.

Company management continues to maximise operating efficiencies to offset rising costs, the statement said.

It said the improved performance of the publishing business unit was offset by challenges faced by the commercial printing division, where remote working and corporate sustainability initiatives have changed the way local businesses are marketing and have reduced demand for printed products.

Publishing and retail division revenues increased 5 per cent, or $315,000, over the previous period.

The report said: “The publishing unit continues to navigate through the economic challenges and adjust to the customer needs by expanding its digital product offering to improve customer engagement.

“The retail division opened Stationery Store Plus in the second half of 2021. Results from the Christmas season exceeded management expectations.

“[Revenues from] commercial printing decreased 18 per cent or $288,000 over the prior year. The commercial printing division continues to be significantly impacted by the shift to remote working, corporate sustainability initiatives, and a decreased demand for traditional printed materials.

“Real estate holdings are consistent with the prior year and remain the most profitable segment with an overall occupancy rate at March 31 of 94 per cent, of which 54 per cent is occupied by third-party tenants.”

Decreased half-year profit: Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd, owner of The Royal Gazette, saw half-year revenues fall (File photograph)

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Published July 01, 2022 at 7:54 am (Updated July 01, 2022 at 7:54 am)

Defence of press freedoms cuts into Bermuda Press profits

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