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SMG offers all staff redundancy

LONDON - Scottish Media Group has offered all of its 1,700 staff voluntary redundancy. Staff have until the end of the week to respond to the move, which is part of a cost-cutting effort.

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The company, which owns Scottish Television and The Herald newspaper, has not indicated how many of the redundancy applications it will accept.

SMG said there would initially be no compulsory redundancies. However, this situation could change should the number of staff joining its voluntary scheme not meet its own internal targets.

SMG, which also owns Virgin Radio, reported in September that its pre-tax profits dropped to £20m from £30m for the same period last year.

The group blamed the slowdown in global advertising markets for the 33.3% drop in profits, as reported in its interim results.

Behind the fall in profits were, SMG said, the increase in costs of ITV licences for its Scottish and Grampian stations; the foot-and-mouth outbreak for the loss of revenue on its Scottish Farmer title; and the dotcom collapse.

Also hit was SMG's television operation, which saw an 11% drop in airtime revenues -- slightly better than the average of 15% for ITV as a whole. The radio division also saw decreases in revenues of some 20%.

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