Profits down 40 per cent at FT Publishing

Financial Times Publishing, the newspaper and magazine wing of Pearson, recorded a fall in profit of 40 per cent in the first half of the year.

Adjusted operating profit at the division which publishes the Financial Times was £14m in the first six months of the year, down from £30m for the same period last year, a 40% decline on an underlying basis.

Revenue at Financial Times Publishing also dipped, falling 13 per cent year-on-year in the first six months of 2009 to £176m.

Parent company Pearson said it did not see the downward advertising cycle “turning at any time soon” however it expected FT Group – which along with FT Publishing includes an interactive data business and a 50 per cent stake in The Economist – to maintain high demand in analysis and information services and for its subscription businesses to remain resilient.

Pearson said: “The impact of advertising revenue declines was mitigated by substantial growth in content revenues, the resilience of our subscription businesses and early actions to manage our cost base tightly.”

The company said the first six months of the year saw an 18 per cent increase in paying online subscribers for the FT to more than 117,000 and while worldwide print circulation was six per cent lower than in the same period last year, retail and subscription circulation were broadly level.

Operating profit at the Economist Group increased 26 per cent to £56m, and sales increase 17 per cent to £313m for the year ended 31 March 2009, Pearson said.

Interactive data recorded a revenue rise of nine per cent to £249m in the first six months of the year.

Pearson said its strategy of diversifying revenue streams away from the sole reliance on advertising to in crease digital and subscription revenues over the last five years had helped FT Group to withstand difficult conditions in the financial services industry and a severe advertising downturn as its reveune for the first six months of the year rose to £425m from £374 in the same period the previous year.

The company said FT Group’s interactive data business would see full-year operating profits grow in the ‘mid-single digit per cent range’ as cost reductions would offset tough market conditions.

Pearson said it was trading ahead of expectations and that FT Group was performing well in a challenging market and inline with expectations.

Overall, Pearson recorded pre-tax profit of £62m in the six months to June, a rise of 13 per cent on the same period in 2008. Total revenue was £2.4bn, up 22 per cent on the first six months of last year.

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