Magazine publisher Haymarket has reported an 8.7 per cent rise in operating profit to £5.03m for the financial year to the end of June 2015.
The profit comes on revenue slightly down year on year to £184.3m (from £187m).
Haymarket owns more than 70 media brands including: Stuff, FourFourTwo, What Car?, Pistonheads, Campaign, PRWeek, MyCME, Management Today and Finance Asia.
Proceeds from the sale of Haymarket’s former headquarters in Teddington are said to have been used to reduce net debt by more than 80 per cent to less than £20m.
Chairman Lord Heseltine said: “Our group is well-placed to seize expansion opportunities in the media industry following an encouraging operational performance in the last financial year. We have significantly strengthened our balance sheet since the year-end, with the sale of our Teddington site, enabling Haymarket to continue its digital transformation in our core markets.”
Haymarket noted the success of its motoring website Pistonheads.
Chief executive Kevin Costello said: “We have focused on segments where Haymarket has established expertise, whilst rationalising non-core parts of the portfolio and maintaining financial discipline across the business. We can continue to execute on the Group Growth Plan – identifying geographic and market segments that promise healthy returns – from a position of underlying strength.
“Although we have not been immune to the volatile advertising climate we have been able to weather the storm through investment and focus in our top performing segments. We also continued to shift our portfolio away from print in favour of digital and our festivals, conferences and exhibitions businesses.”
Haymarket reported a pre-tax loss of £2.8m, compared with a pre-tax profit of £11.1m the previous year (when the figure was boosted by £16.4m of property disposals).