Ascential's revenues and earnings jump as FTSE 250 firm steps away from magazines

William Turvill
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A picture taken on June 21,  2011 shows
Cannes Lions is one of Ascential's best-known brands (Source: Getty)

Ascential, the events and information company, has reported a 26 per cent jump in revenue for the first half of the year as it sold off numerous magazine titles.

The figures

Ascential, formerly known as Emap and Top Right Group, reported a turnover on continuing operations of £222m, up from £176.2m in the same period last year.

Adjusted earnings from continuing operations, meanwhile, came in at £81.4m, up 29 per cent from £63.2m.

The FTSE 250-listed firm reported that its margin had grown from 35.9 per cent to 36.7 per cent as investment in information services was more than offset for a currency exchange benefit in its exhibitions and festivals business.

The company’s shares were up three per cent to 347.4p at the time of writing.

Read more: These 11 magazine titles have become non-Ascential items

Why it’s interesting

Ascential, founded 130 years ago as a newspaper company, has taken a big step away from publishing this year.

The company put 13 “heritage brands”, i.e. magazines, up for sale at the start of the year.

It agreed a £19m deal to sell Health Service Journal to Wilmington in mid-January, and then sold 11 more to Property Week owner Metropolis in June.

The company’s portfolio of businesses still includes Retail Week, but few other traditional media brands remain. Some of its best known brands now are the Cannes Lions festival, Autumn Fair and retail analytics services WGSN.

What the company said

Chief executive Duncan Painter said:

The business continues to generate significant cash flows to fund investment, dividends and acquisitions and the integration of MediaLink and One Click Retail are progressing according to plan, enhancing our offering and opening up new opportunities for growth. Furthermore the strategic actions we have taken in the last 12 months enable us to optimise the focus on our primary brands and further accelerate our product and international revenue diversification.

With our information services division already contributing well to our organic growth, the benefit of enhanced growth contributions coming from recently acquired brands and the investments we continue to make to enhance our products and capabilities we remain confident that we will continue to deliver leading growth rates.

Read more: Ascential buy: FTSE 250 media firm behind Cannes Lions in $69m US deal

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