PA operating profit up 11 per cent

Despite the downturn, PA Group today announced a 11 per cent increase in operating profit to £7.2m on turnover up £6.5m year on year to £85.6m.

However, as a result of writing-down the value of its sport business to the tune of £8.8m PA Group, which owns Press Association, recorded a loss before tax of £8m. It has announced it will not be paying a dividend to its 27 shareholders who include Associated Newspaper Holdings Limited, News International, Trinity Mirror and United Business Media.

In June, PA Group announced it would not be selling its PA Sport division following a three-month review.

PA Sport provides live news, information and data to customers, including many newspapers, TV networks and websites in Britain and around the world. Based in the UK, it also has staff in America, Australia, China and Africa.

PA Group chairman Tim Bowdler said: “Encouraging progress was made across the group in 2008. In a difficult market environment our focus on developing products and services suitable for the current requirements of the marketplace and containing costs has resulted in a resilient underlying performance.

“Although 2009 will be another difficult year, we are trading ahead of the same period last year. I believe we are in good shape to meet the challenges which face us and have confidence that we can emerge as a stronger organisation.”

Following confirmation by Paul Potts of his intention to stand down as chief executive in January 2010, Bowdler took the opportunity to praise Potts for his “outstanding work” during his 15 years with the business.

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