US magazine publisher Primedia posted mounting losses for the first quarter as the ad recession took its toll, not least at its business-to-business unit.

The group reported Q1 net losses of $139 million (€154m; £95m), wider than the $5m shortfall recorded a year earlier. Revenues managed a 2.1% increase to $401.1m, though this was largely due to last summer’s purchase of Emap USA. Totals on a like-for-like basis were not disclosed.

Thanks to the Emap acquisition, revenues at Primedia’s consumer magazines jumped 18.2% to $345.4m. However, its b2b publications suffered a 22.2% slump to $89.9m.

Chairman/ceo Tom Rogers said the ad recession seems to have bottomed-out, but warned that Primedia was planning for flat revenue growth over the year and did not expect an ad upturn until 2003.

The group is trying to reduce costs and cut its debt burden, to which end it has generated $160m (of a planned $250m savings) from the sale of assets such as the Modern Bride Group, sold to Condé Nast Publications. Other titles are up for sale, though which were not disclosed. Rogers would admit only that Primedia is in talks with a number of buyers.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff