Trade exhibitions and conferences organiser ITE Group managed to offset the adverse timing of events to grow revenues slightly in the first half.
Revenue totalled £69.4m in the six months to March 31st, ahead of the £68.6m reported the year before despite the company organising just 109 events during the period, down from 125 previously. On a like-for-like basis, revenues were up 11%.
However, the timing of events and biennial pattern had a £3.6m negative impact on the bottom line, meaning that headline profit before tax slipped from £13.1m to £11.1m. Meanwhile, operating expenses rose by £2.0m due to investment in infrastructure.
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On a reported basis, profit before tax dropped from £6.3m to £2.6m.
Nevertheless, the interim dividend was raised from 2.1p per share to 2.3p per share. Net cash by the end of the half stood at £21.7m, up from £16.4m previously.
"ITE has delivered a good performance over the first half of the year, delivering solid organic growth in a period which was negatively impacted by biennial and event timing differences," said Chief Executive Officer Russell Taylor.
The firm made progress in expanding its footprint in Asia in the first half, boosting its "territorial operations in markets with further potential for growth". During the period the company purchased a 28.3% stake in Indian exhibition organiser ABEC and a 75% interest in Malaysian group Trade-Link. Since the period-end, ITE also bought half of Malaysian peer ECMI.
The firm said that it has booked revenues for the current financial year of £174m, ahead of £156m by the same time last year. On a like-for-like basis, revenues booked are 8.0% ahead.
"The group is in a strong financial position with continued good trading conditions in our markets the Board has confidence in the full year outcome," Taylor said.
Shares were up 2.97% at 302.73p in early trading on Monday.
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