Newspaper publisher Reach (RCH.L) surged as much as 30% on Friday, to its highest level in a decade, after digital revenues jumped 24.9% in its fourth quarter, up from 13.4% in the previous three months.
The firm, which owns titles such as the Mirror and Express and is the UK’s largest regional news media group, also revealed that profits would beat market expectations.
It said underlying operating profit would be in the range of £130m ($176m) to £135m following the record digital revenue performance. Analysts had expected profits of £122m.
Print circulation sales slumped 11.7% during the quarter as the coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc, but it was an improvement on the 12.6% decline in the third quarter.
Reach said it had passed the milestone of 5 million online customer registrations, which it said was crucial to its business development plans.
Jim Mullen, chief executive, said: “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.
“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.”
In July last year, the group said that it would cut 550 jobs, amounting to just over 10% of its workforce, as it battled to shore up its finances.
This month Reach will launch new sites covering Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire as well as expanding its MyLondon editorial team.
WATCH: Why can't governments just print more money?