Emap Results Please Moneymen

26 May 2005

Emap, the London-headquartered European media group, on Tuesday caused a few upward tics at the corners of media analysts' otherwise downturned mouths.

The sliderule brigade, these days accustomed to sombre results from much of the British media industry, had expected Emap to deliver direly. "We were braced for the worst, and it never came," exhaled one City of London analyst.

Pretax profits for the full year to March 31 fell 22% to £112 million ($204.83m; €162.71m) on turnover down 2%. The result was depressed by an exceptional write-down of £30m, of which £20m relates to two French TV listings magazines acquired just eighteen months ago for £60m.

Ceo Tom Maloney regards caution as the best policy: "Our first quarter will show modest advertising growth, the second quarter is just too early to call," he said.

Britons' continuing obsession with celebrity trivia fuelled circulation growth at Emap's two weekly titles Heat and Closer, collaring between them around one million readers weekly, reports Maloney.

Meantime, fashion-fetishists "who can't wait a whole month for their next fix "are boosting take-up of the group's new weekly magazine Grazia, launched in February. A further £9m will be pumped into the title this year, while a similar sum will be invested in a new French magazine scheduled for launch in the late summer.

Data sourced from Telegraph.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff