Trinidad Guardian Building on St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain.

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For the three months ended March 31, 2020, Guardian Media Ltd (GML) registered a net profit of $1.3 million, up $6.7 million when compared to a net loss of $5.4 million for the corresponding period in 2019.

In the release of GML’s financial statements, chairman Peter Clarke said that the increase “represented significant improvements from accelerating revenue growth and improving operational efficiencies.”

Clarke explained,” We benefited from prior year investments in improving our sales effectiveness and elevating editorial content to achieve a year-over-year growth in core advertising revenues of $3.3 million or 13 per cent despite revenue pressures caused by COVID-19.”

The print segment of the media house contributed approximately $15million in revenue to the company’s operations, while the multi-media segment generated $13.3 million bringing total revenue to a future of $28.3 million.

GML also recorded a non-recurring write back of expense accruals of $1.8 million from the negotiation of contracted licensed services. Clarke noted that, excluding this one off expense reduction recorded in the first quarter results, the media house achieved a year-over-year decline in normalised expenses of $3.2 million or 11 per cent due to efficiency improvements and a reduction of controllable expenses.

The chairman said that from mid-march, GML’s business continuity plans were activated with work-from-home arrangements put in place for a substantial number of employees.

He remarked that the company’s focus during the pandemic is to serve its communities, keep people informed and protect the health of its employees whilst responding quickly to market changes and challenges brought about by COVID-19.

Clarke expressed pride in the GML employees and recognised “their courageous efforts in contributing to the physical and emotional wellbeing of our citizenry.”

He said that while GML’s COVID-19 response is progressing well, it is difficult to assess and predict the broard effect of COVID-19 on the business and operations for the second quarter “as the actual impact is dependent on factors beyond our company’s control and knowledge given the ongoing, changing and uncertain situation.”

The GML chairman indicated, “We will continue to experience some further logistical and operational challenges.”

According to Clarke, the greatest concern of the company lies with revenue losses in the second quarter from stay-at-home orders and closure of non-essential businesses that continue to impact the country’s economic and financial markets.