The world’s largest magazine company, French media and defence giant Lagardère, has posted strong H1 results for its publishing unit despite an overall profits plunge.

Operating earnings at the group’s media division surged 20.7% to a higher-than-expected €172 million ($191.6m; £120.7m) over the first six months of 2003. However, Lagardère warned of slower growth in the second half, largely due to the seasonal nature of its book sales.

Earnings at the company’s defence unit were also up, but an increased tax bill means that group net profits fell 29% to €104m.

Looking ahead, Lagardère pointed to the US economic recovery and the weakening euro as “encouraging factors”.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff