Centaur Media sees half-year pre-tax profits fall 86%

Business-to-business publisher Centaur has reported an 86 per cent plunge in like-for-like pre-tax profits in the second half of 2008.

Announcing its half-year results to the City this morning, the Marketing Week and New Media Age publisher said revenues in the six months to the end of December were down 19 per cent to £31.5m.

Adjusted profit before tax fell 86 per cent, from £5m to £0.7m.

After deduction of “exceptional administrative costs” and depreciation, the company reported a statutory loss of £0.1m before tax, compared with a £2.8m profit in the same period in 2007.

Centaur said it had already cut its staff numbers by about 15 per cent and will save about £10m in this financial year, with a further £2m planned next year.

Other cost savings have been achieved through changes in magazine formats and reduced paginations.

Total advertising revenue in the six-month period fell 23 per cent year on year, with recruitment advertising down 30 per cent. Events revenue was down 12 per cent.

Dividend

Despite falling revenues and profits, Centaur said it was still proposing to offer its shareholders a dividend of 0.5p per share – a total payout of £700,783 due to be made on 9 April.

Chief executive Geoff Wilmot said the company was confident its performance would improve when the global economic crisis was over.

The second half of the calendar year is usually weaker than the first, because of a lack of events in July, August and December.

“These results reflect the extreme challenges faced by our markets during the period,” he said.

“We have responded with a progressive and radical programme of cost reductions. This will contribute towards cost savings of approximately £10m in the current financial year and a further £2m next year.

“Meanwhile, we have seen no material change in our market-leading positions during the period and we remain confident of the group’s prospects when markets recover.”

• Read Centaur’s half-year results announcement

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