Revenue up at UBM in year it closed 13 magazines

Business publisher United Business Media recorded a 4.9 per cent year on year increase in revenue in 2010 despite closing 13 print magazines.

The company, which publishes Farmers Guardian and Property Week, said it generated revenue of £889.2m last year – an underlying growth of 5.6 per cent year on year.

This growth came despite print revenues declining 13.1 per cent to £144.1m – driven in part by the closure of 13 titles during 2010, the company said.

Operating profit from its magazine business fell to £10m in 2010 – a year-on-year decline of 12.4 per cent.

UBM said it would continue with its strategy of managing the contraction of its print division – following on from it closing 31 titles and merging or reducing the frequency of others throughout 2009.

“As we further rationalise our portfolio of titles we expect that in time our continuing print titles will form part of an integrated ‘Online and Print – Marketing Services’ offering,” the company said.

“Growth will be driven by our ability to engage with an audience through a variety of channels including, more recently, mobile.

“It is worth noting that the combined revenues of online and print declined 2.9 per cent in 2010 while combined [profit] margin improved to 5.3 per cent.”

Total operating profit at UBM was broadly flat at £171.8m reflecting higher investment in new product development, sales and IT, the company said.

UBM announced this morning that it has sold its licensed titles to William Reed in a deal worth up to £1.65m and also disposed of its French medical newspaper business to a management buyout.

Reporting its full year results, UBM said in the last year it had made 22 acquisitions, investing £258m in new businesses.

The company also detailed its latest purchases; a 60 per cent stake in Famdent, India’s largest dental exhibition and conference business, and taking full control of India’s largest travel tradeshow SATTE.

UBM said businesses in emerging markets now accounted for 28.6 per cent of total adjusted operating profit, up 20.6 per cent year on year.

The company said that events brought 34.8 per cent of total revenue last year, data services 20.8 per cent of revenue; targeting, distribution & monitoring 20.4 per cent; and print magazines contributed 16.2 per cent of total revenue.

David Levin, UBM’s chief executive officer, said: “UBM has delivered a robust performance in 2010 achieving 4.9 per cent headline revenue growth, bolstered by 20 per cent growth in our largest emerging markets of China, India and Brazil which now account for a quarter of our adjusted operating profit.

“Our consistent strategy of developing products in winning formats, targeting attractive business communities in growing geographies, provides us with a good platform for growth.

“We are investing in our people, our products and services and, in addition, we made 22 acquisitions during 2010 which have strengthened our offering and geographic reach.”

Initial trading in 2011 was encouraging, Levin said. Adding that he was “cautiously optimistic” about results for this year.

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