Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) shareholders breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday morning as the publishing and exhibitions group confirmed full-year results would be in line with expectations.
As expected, the business-to-business (B2B) operations were the main drivers of growth, while the Consumer side of the business received a welcome boost from the Olympics.
Group revenue in the 11 months to the end of August was down 1% year-on-year in actual terms but up 3% on an underlying basis.
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The B2B division, including Euromoney (which, as usual, published results on the same day as DMGT) saw revenues rise 2% on an actual basis and 8% on an underlying basis.
Revenue change figures for the B2B units (underlying change in brackets) were as follows:
Risk Management Solutions +4% (+7%)
DMG informational: +10% (+12%)
DMG events: -38% (+15%)
The reduction in reported revenues in the events business is due to the sale of George Little Management (GLM) in September 2011 and because only one of the three large biennial events took place during the year.
The Consumer division saw no change in underlying revenues and a 3% decline in actual terms. Associated Newspapers, the bit that publishes the Daily Mail, saw revenues fall 2% but rise 1% on an underlying basis.
Associated Newspapers' circulation revenues were up 4% year-on-year while underlying advertising revenues in July and August were up 7%, reflecting the benefit of advertisers looking to cash in on the Olympics.
Total year to date underlying advertising revenues were down 1% with newspapers down 7%, newspaper websites (mainly Mail Online) up 72% and other digital advertising (primarily Evenbase and Wowcher) up 11%.
For the first three weeks of September, total underlying advertising revenues were 3% ahead of last year.
The regional newspapers unit, Northcliffe Media, continues to have a tough time of it, with revenues down 10% on an actual basis and down 6% on an underlying basis. Circulation revenues were up 1% on an underlying basis but underlying advertising revenues were down 6%, as the small ads market continues to migrate to the web.
For the first three weeks of September, total underlying advertising revenues were 10% below last year.
Net debt at the end of September is expected to be less than £700m, which would mean the net debt/EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) ratio will be below 2.0.
"DMGT has delivered a solid revenue performance over the year to date, driven by continued strength in our B2B operations," said Martin Morgan, DMGT's Chief Executive Officer.
"Going forward our focus will remain on driving organic growth, operational and financial efficiency and pursuing an active portfolio management approach," he added.
The share price rose 12p to 502p in the first hour of trading.
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