FT profit slumps 40% in first six months of 2009
LONDON - FT Publishing, the publisher of the Financial Times, recorded a 40% drop in profits in the first half of the year, which it blamed on "tough" market conditions for financial and corporate advertising.
Marjorie Scardino: chief executive of the FT Group
Adjusted operating profit fell from £30m to £14m at the division, while sales fell 13% from £188m to £176m in the first six months.
The group, however, claimed the hit from advertising revenue decline was mitigated by substantial increase in its content revenue, the resilience of its subscription business and actions to manage its cost base.
Sales at the Financial Times group, which includes its interactive data arm, jumped from £374m to £435m in the period.
Overall, sales rose at FT owner Pearson, which also owns a 50% stake in The Economist, Penguin books and a US education unit, by 22% to £2.4bn. Pre-tax profits rose from £55m to £62m.
Sales at Penguin were up 6% from £408m to £452m, while profits were down 23% in the first six months.
Net debt at the group increased from £1.68bn to £1.86bn in the period.
The group said that growth in its higher education and international education divisions, along with more subscription and digital revenues at the FT Group, is helping offset the tough economic market.
Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of the group, said: "Over the past six years, Pearson has delivered substantial growth; this year is about proving our resilience and competitive edge. So far, we've passed the test.
"Market conditions are tough and may stay that way, but we are confident that we will perform well this year and next."
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk
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