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Reach plc

Shares of UK national and regional news publisher Reach plc (LON: RCH) are on the rise on Friday after the company said it expects underlying operating profit for 2020 to be ahead of market expectations between £130-135 million.

The result comes following the company’s strong digital revenue performance, which grew by 24.9% in the fourth quarter, up from 13.4% in Q3.

Print circulation sales were down 11.7% in Q4, a slight improvement on the 12.6% decline in Q3 while overall the company’s total revenue decline in Q4 was 10.2% compared to a 14.8% fall in Q3.

In December, the company hit 5 million online customer registrations and completed Reach ID's development, a proprietary customer insight platform which provides a combined view of a user's activity across all of its sites.

Reach said it is now using enhanced data and insights to drive product innovation and grow its revenue via targeted brand opportunities and commercial partnerships.

In January the company will be launching new sites covering Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire and expanding its MyLondon 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,” commented Jim Mullen, CEO of Reach.

“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,” added Mullen.

The company’s shares hit highs of 230.6p immediately after the opening bell, but are currently below that level at 221p, up 25.85%.

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