News International Accounts: Millions Lost In Property Website Sales

News International swung from a £31.7 million annual profit to a £73.3 million annual loss in the year to June 2010, according to statements filed at Companies House.

The company blamed lower income from its fixed-asset investments, which declined from £139.1 million to just £15 million. Operating expenses also grew by 46 percent to £72.8 million.

— The company says it made a £1.5 million loss from selling its share in Propertyfinder operator REA UK for £700,000 in August 2009. It also wrote off a £1.7 million investment it had made after buying the site jointly with Australia’s REA for a reported £14.3 million in 2005.

— It made a £1.3 million loss from selling its 50 percent share of the Globrix search engine back to its owners for £1.8 million in November 2009.

— It wrote off a £45 million loan it gave to its thelondonpaper, when the title closed in September 2009.

Staff salary bill slimmed from £11.7 million to £8.8 million, but total staff costs grew from £16.7 million to £19.4 million, because share-based payments trebled to £5.2 million and pension costs more than doubled to £4.2 million.

News International says it has a “heritage collection” archive of manuscripts, newspapers and other artefacts valued by Sotheby’s at £56,000: “The collection is one of the most significant within the British newspaper industry and is available both for internal and external research purposes.”