Daily Mail & General Trust said advertising revenue from its national titles had increased 13% year on year over the past three months and announced that its finance director Peter Williams will retire after 19 years in the job.

The London-based media group said Mr Williams will be replaced in March by Stephen Daintith from US financial news agency Dow Jones. Mr Daintith, who has been with Dow Jones for two years, was previously finance chief of News International, the British newspaper arm of tycoon Rupert Murdoch, and was with British American Tobacco before that.

DMGT has said previously that it expects to report significantly higher profits in its newspaper operations for the year to October 3.

DMGT, which in its annual results last year said the flagship Daily Mail had its second most profitable year in its history despite the recession, said that advertising revenues at its national newspaper division have increased by 13% year on year in the past three months.

Print revenues at Associated Newspapers, home to the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, are up 10%, mainly because of a rise in display ads, while “pureplay” digital income is up 22%.

However, regional advertising fell by 7% in the 11 months as a slump in recruitment advertising continued.

“We’ve really got to see a pick-up in demand for jobs before we’re really on solid ground again,” said chief executive Martin Morgan.

City analysts were generally upbeat about the group’s prospects. Numis brokerage rates DMGT stock as a “buy”. However, shares in DMGT fell by 7.5p, or 1,4%, to 517.5p in yesterday’s London dealing.

by Douglas Hamilton