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Haymarket reduces debt, commits to B2B and heralds digital investments

Haymarket Media Group, the independent publisher of B2B and B2C titles such as Campaign and What Car?, has revealed a group turnover of £318.2 million for the 18-month period to 30 June 2013, with an EBITDA of £30.8 million.

Kevin Costello: the chief executive of Haymarket Media Group

Kevin Costello: the chief executive of Haymarket Media Group

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The accounts just filed at Companies House are for an exceptional period, during which HMG changed its year-end from December to June, restructured the group and significantly reduced debts.

Since June 2013, HMG has reduced its net debt by one third. After completing a series of divestments and the sale of the company's Hammersmith office properties, the company has reduced its debt to £97 million.

Kevin Costello, the chief executive of HMG, said this debt reduction had created "headroom for investment".

HMG has recently made a significant investment in a suite of mobile consumer products; in an online medical platform in the US called myCME; in a financial research business in Asia called East & Partners; and has taken a minority stake in international digital training company, The Knowledge Engineers.

Costello is now two years into his "group growth plan", which maps the company's route from its 58-year heritage as a UK print publisher, to "the best international specialist media and information company in its chosen markets".

"Progress is really encouraging," said Costello. "There are still challenges in the consumer space, but B2B has passed the bottom of the cycle and we are beginning to see real growth". He emphasised the group's commitment to B2B publishing, which continues to contribute 52 per cent of revenues.

Significantly, Costello said the group had reached "an inflexion point" where print revenues contributed less than 50 per cent of turnover for the first time.

As recently as 2011, print generated 62 per cent of turnover, but in the current financial year (to 30 June, 2014) print revenues are estimated at 47 per cent of turnover. Digital content revenues have leapt to 37 per cent, while face-to-face and information products represent 16 per cent.

Overseas interests have also grown in importance to HMG. Today these represent more than a third (34 per cent) of the group's turnover, compared with less than a quarter (23 per cent) in 2007.

Costello said the group was also enjoying the benefits of a diversified portfolio, both in terms of its range of products, and internationally. The buoyant US market now contributes almost a quarter of the group's revenues.

At the end of 2013, the founding Heseltine family took full control of the group after paying £10 million to the co-founder Simon Tindall, under a longstanding agreement.

This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk

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