Wilmington Group looks to make more acquisitions

Wilmington Group, the publishing and training group that owns Press Gazette and the British Press Awards, made a £5.9m profit in the second half of 2008, it announced today.

That profit was nine per cent up on the same period last year, with revenue up 13 per cent to £43.1m.

Pre-tax profit after non-recurring items, including redundancy and reorganisation, was £2m – down from £3.3m in the same period last year.

Wilmington Group chairman David Summers said the company was keen on more acquisitions.

“In the current market environment, there are likely to be opportunities for us to acquire businesses and assets at attractive prices,” he said.

“We remain focused on our acquisition strategy of purchasing businesses with a strong strategic fit and capable of generating long term value, and are ready to take advantage of opportunities which may arise in the future.”

In the second half of 2008, Wilmington said it made a “full exit from trade magazine publications”.

In September, it disposed of Muze Europe, a music information business, and in October, it disposed of HPCi, which published Manufacturing Chemist, Cleanroom Technology and Soap, Perfumery and Cosmetics.

The company said in its half-year results this morning: “Neither of these businesses were core to our strategy of serving the information and training requirements of professional markets.”

Summers said the company had been hit by the economic downturn, particularly in legal training and events.

“Many parts of our business are producing robust performances,” he said.

“However, despite the cost savings being implemented across the group and the additional benefits of recent acquisitions, the board expects the continuing deterioration in the legal training market to impact on the group’s performance for the full financial year.”

Other areas, including accountancy training and support, witness training, and anti-money laundering training had “performed well”, the company said.

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