UK Media group Emap on Tuesday confirmed the dim view for radio advertising but nevertheless issued a positive outlook for the year, supported by strength in its consumer magazine and business-to-business divisions.
The magazine publisher and radio group said it was on track to meet full-year expectations as it announced a 3 per cent increase in turnover to £522m from £509 for the half-year ended September 30. Underlying profits rose 2 per cent to £96m, but pre-tax profits fell 4 per cent to £68m ($126m).
Tom Moloney, chief executive, said: “I know it is not a great performance for that all four divisions have to be showing growth. But it is a reasonable performance.”
Emap's Performance division saw operating profit fall 21 per cent to £15m. The owner of London's Kiss FM station blamed a decline in national radio advertising. Emap underperformed the market during the period, but it was bullish about the second half because of its agency share deals, which it said would result in it outperforming the market.
The French division continued to struggle, as operating profit fell 13 per cent from £31m to £27m. Its TV listings magazines suffered from competition from the launch of rivals from Bertelsmann earlier in the year, but Emap said it saw early indications that the rate of decline in news-stand sales had stabilised.
Mr Moloney would not comment specifically on consolidation with SRH, in which Emap acquired a 27.8 per cent stake in January. He said that consolidation would be something Emap would like to do, but did not have to do, and it was “focused first and foremost on growing our brands and taking advantage of the new digital world”.
Despite challenging conditions, Mr Moloney was confident about a French market with less regulation and greater competition, and said he expected Emap to undertake a major launch within the next year.
The consumer media division, which publishes Closer and Zoo magazines, was one of the two drivers of growth for the group, as operating profit grew by 17 per cent to £34m.
Mr Moloney called Emap Communications, the group's B2B division, “the hidden hero of the Emap portfolio”, as operating profits rose 25 per cent to £30m.