The Express and Daily Star newspapers have suffered a plunge in profits as billionaire owner Richard Desmond attempts to offload the titles to rival publisher Trinity Mirror.
Accounts for Express Newspapers, which publishes both newspapers, show a pre-tax profit of £13m, down by more than half on the prior year.
The sharp deterioration reflected a 10pc decline in turnover to £157m, after the newspapers both slashed their cover price in an attempt to prop up sales and put pressure on news-stand rivals, including Trinity Mirror.
Over the course of 2016 the circulation of the Daily Star declined by only 2.5pc after it cut its price from 40p to 20p. By contrast the Daily Mirror sold 11.7pc fewer copies.