Future profits down 61 per cent amid 'economic maelstrom'

Consumer magazines publisher Future has announced pre-tax profits down 61 per cent year on year to £3.7m on turnover down six per cent to £153.1m.

Chief executive Stevie Spring said this morning that given the scale of the challenges in the current economic climate – the figures represented a good performance.

She said: “The scale, intensity and complexity of the challenges of 2009 were unprecedented. Given these factors, Future’s performance was remarkably resilient compared to its media sector peers: testament to the strength of our special-interest business and our clear operational focus.

“The year was a tale of two markets. Our larger UK business out-performed the market, increasing profits despite a relatively modest revenue decline. Our US business experienced a very difficult year – hit by a general advertising market in freefall and unprecedented disruption at newsstand.

“But we dealt with everything the economic maelstrom threw at us and we responded in a proportionate way. Furthermore, the group made good progress in its strategy; we continued to invest appropriately in new commercial opportunities and in new talent; and we made milestone progress in reducing bank debt. These factors will serve us well in the future.

“Our immediate priorities in 2010 are to carry through the measures we’ve introduced to strengthen our US business, and to navigate the near-term global economic challenges. Trading for the new financial year has continued to be challenging, both in the UK and the US and we expect conditions to remain difficult in 2010. So we’re taking a cautious view.”

Future titles include Total Film, Digital Camera, Classic Rock, T3, Fast Car and Official Xbox and Playstation magazines.

In the UK Future reported a seven per cent increase in subscription price revenue, thanks to cover price increases on 15 titles, and an 11 per cent decline in advertising revenue.

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