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United Business Media makes good second-half progress

LONDON – With a strong performance by its UK magazine business and improvements in technology advertising, United Business Media said it has continued to make good progress in the second half of 2003.

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The firm said trading conditions in the US have improved and there was a better than expected recovery in Asia after SARS in the first half.

UBM said it was delivering year-on-year improvements in overall operating margins and said it expects the second-half margin to be above the 12.2% achieved in the first half and well ahead of the 10% target for 2003.

United remains strongly cash generative and is net cash positive after having invested over £100m on acquisitions in 2003.

Technology advertising page volume trends continued to improve and yields are ahead of expectations. Exhibitions and online also made important positive contributions to CMP Media's second-half year-on-year growth.

The trading update came as UBM, which owns the NOP World research business, spent £23m acquiring Italy's largest independent market research company Eurisko.

Eurisko offers a range of syndicated and custom research products and consulting services, and shares with NOP World a leading position in the automotive, financial services, healthcare and media sectors in their respective markets.

In a statement, UMB said that through Eurisko, NOP World can now market its key products directly into Italy and can offer a wider geographical presence to its multinational clients.

Lord Clive Hollick, CEO of UBM, said: "Eurisko is attractive strategically, financially and geographically. It complements NOP World's existing sector strengths and gives NOP World a leading presence in one of the major European markets."

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