If you pick up a paper in East Anglia, the chances are that it will have been published by the Eastern Counties Newspaper Group. The company publishes a total of 65 titles, including the Eastern Daily Press in Norwich, in the Home Counties, Scotland and the South West. Eastern Counties Newspaper Group is a product of the East Anglian landed gentry, and several of the area’s old families have a stakehold in the company. Since 1996, profits have soared as the old management team retired and a new team was brought in by chairman Richard Jewson. Chief executive Peter Strong set about selling off or closing loss-making titles, and outbid competitors to buy the profitable Home Counties Newspaper Group. He also improved margins through a £23m investment in new print technology. Profits increased by 48% pa, from £5.5m in 1995 to £18m in 1998. Sales actually declined by 5% pa in the same period to £103.5m. Eastern Counties has begun to invest heavily in the development of internet sites for its titles.
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