UBM confident of growth despite Q1 dip

Despite a three per cent fall in underlying first-half sales, events and marketing group UBM is confident its emerging markets strength will deliver 'strong growth' for the full year.

Despite a three per cent fall in underlying first-half sales, events and marketing group UBM is confident its emerging markets strength will deliver 'strong growth' for the full year.

UBM, which sold its Delta loss-making data services division in a £160m deal announced in February, saw adjusted operating profit collapse 24% from £46m to £35m in the three months to March 31st, as the dominant events arm suffered contractions in sales and profits.

First-quarter revenues slid 7.9% to £194.7m, although allowing for exceptional events the underlying fall was less than half that.

Chief Executive Officer David Levin said the tough first quarter had been anticipated and was due to declines in UK shows, but that events revenues in its emerging markets such as China and India were strongly weighted to the second half.

He said that there was no change to the group's full year guidance, which is for revenue growth of between 3.0 and 7.0 per cent for 2013.

"Our portfolio of events in the US and Emerging Markets performed well. Forward bookings are tracking in line with our expectations and we continue to expect strong growth through the balance of the year, particularly in our Emerging Markets events which are weighted to the second half."

"PR Newswire has made a good start to the year. In Marketing Services, we have begun to restructure the UBM Tech business to create a more sustainable and profitable model supporting our strong technology events franchise."

The balance sheet was bolstered by the receipt of net £92m cash proceeds from the Delta disposal, with a further closing of balance expected in due course.

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