House publisher Huveaux warns of further cost-cutting

Political publisher Huveaux has forecast double-digit growth in revenue and profits at its magazines this year, following a busy summer season of political conferences.

But the group warned today that conditions elsewhere in the company had deteroriated and a further round of cost-cutting was being planned.

It also announced that chairman and founder John Van Kuffeler had resigned with immediate effect, to be replaced by non-executive director Kevin Hand. Another director, John Clarke, has also resigned from the board.

The management shake-up follows news that Huveaux’s overall performance at the end of this year is likely to “fall short” of previous expectations.

Huveaux, which was founded in 2001 and employs 500 staff in London, Paris, Brussels and Edinburgh, said it had identified a further £500,000 in annual cost savings to help improve its performance.

In a trading update this morning, the company – which publishes parliamentary magazine The House and Public Affairs News – said its political titles “continued to trade well and “remained on course to meet expectations” by the end of the financial year in December.

But it said the government’s decision to scrap statutory assessment tests for 14-year-olds would have a “material effect” on its education division, which publishes learning materials for schools.

“This announcement [by schools secretary Ed Balls] came without any forewarning and represented a complete U-turn from all previous announcements,” the company said.

“Actions are being taken within the division to mitigate the effect of the government’s policy change.

“Sales and profits within the education division will be significantly below expectations for 2008 and the outlook for this division for 2009 is less certain.”

Huveaux added that the government announcement on Sats was likely to have an effect on other education publishers.

Another media group with interests in education is Pearson, publisher of the Financial Times.

In early trading today, shares in Huveaux fell more than 20 per cent – down 2p to 7.25p. At this price, the group has a market value of about £11m.

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