UBM: Print will contribute less than 10% to profits this year

Business-to-business publisher United Business Media has said it expects to make less than a tenth of its total profits from printed magazines in the coming year.

The group, which publishes titles including Music Week, Building and The Publican under the CMP Information banner, has reported a 10.7 per cent rise in like-for-like revenues in 2008, up to £887m.

Group operating profits, excluding any acquisitions and disposals, climbed 4.5 per cent to £173.5m.

In its end-of-year results, published this morning, United Business Media said trading in November, December and January – as global financial markets worsened – had been “satisfactory and resilient”.

CMP Information reported a 1.1 per cent decline in full-year revenues to £190m. Operating profit in the same period fell 8.8 per cent to £43.4m.

Printed magazines now account for 24.3 per cent of UBM’s total revenues – down from 56.2 per cent in 2004 – and only 13.8 per cent of the group’s profits.

Chief executive David Levin said: “We expect that current economic conditions will serve to accelerate these trends such that the proportion of UBM’s profits generated by print magazine products will fall to less than 10 per cent by the end of 2009.”

The declining importance of printed magazines for United Business Media has been offset by growth in business-to-business events.

These represented 40.3 per cent of UBM’s total profits last year, up from 37.4 per cent in 2007.

The company warned today that the economic downturn would mean attendance levels at some events was likely to fall as corporate travel budgets are squeezed.

Events serving the business sectors “most severely affected by the downturn”, including the British furniture industry, would be the worst-hit in the coming year, it said.

Despite the economic downturn, UBM said forward bookings for some of its major events in 2009 were five per cent ahead of last year.

Levin said the company was “not immune to the effects of the slowdown taking place across markets and economies worldwide”.

“We have also taken early action to reduce costs and have maintained a prudent balance sheet, allowing us to continue to make selected acquisitions as pricing improves and opportunities arise,” he said.

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