Centaur Media boss confident for second half

Centaur Media, a business information, events and marketing services group, failed to impress investors with its half yearly results on Wednesday, despite being firmly upbeat about its outlook.

Centaur Media, a business information, events and marketing services group, failed to impress investors with its half yearly results on Wednesday, despite being firmly upbeat about its outlook.

The company, which is midway through a three-year transitional phase, reported a 3.0% drop in underlying growth, but said reported growth was up 14%, following a series of acquisitions.

Pre-tax losses widened to £5.0m, from £1.5m a year earlier.

The group said despite this decline it is confident about its progress, and underlined this with a 10% increase in the interim dividend to 0.825p from 0.75p for the same period in 2011.

In an interview with Sharecast and Digitalook, the company's Chief Executive, Geoff Wilmot, stressed that Centaur is making good progress with its transformation, pointing to "significant" increases to margins, but said that it was the seasonal nature of the business that means the majority of revenues are generated in the second half of the year.

"We're restructuring in a cost effective and scalable way," he said.

"The business is now repositioned and restructured. We are maintaining momentum in improving the quality of our portfolio and remain focused on increasing margins. We have an exciting pipeline of new product development initiatives across each of our three operating divisions, which positions us well for further growth in the medium term.

"The second half of our financial year continues to account for the large majority of our earnings. Although we remain dependent on underlying revenues returning to growth in the second half, we anticipate trading will be in line with our expectations for the current financial year."

The group is moving away from publishing and towards digital information and events, and is focusing on investing in innovation across all divisions. Wilmot said that the company plans to increase the contribution to revenue from its Digital business to 50% within the next few years.

The company's results also failed to impress broker Westhouse Securities, which downgraded the stock from add to neutral, with its target price at 55p.

The share price fell 8.55% to 53.50p by 15:15 On Wednesday afternoon.

NR

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