UK-headquartered United Business Media, buoyed by last year’s disposal of its British TV and national newspaper assets [WAMN: 28-Jul-00; 20-Nov-00], yesterday posted an 11% rise in headline profits for 2000.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes and amortization) hit £342.4 million ($495m), exceeding 1999’s figure of £307.4m and market expectations.

However, chief executive Lord Clive Hollick warned that UBM's US publishing business CMP is exposed to the downturn in technology advertising – a sector accounting for around one third of the group’s US profits. Although CMP revenues were in line with 1999’s buoyant level and market share had risen from 26.1% to 29.7% in January 2001, he cautioned that “the outlook for the US high tech market remains uncertain”.

Overall, said Hollick: “We've had really cracking year in terms of performance, but it's also been a year of an extensive process of restructuring.”

Shorn of debt and with around £300m cash on the balance sheet, UBM is in shopping mode, eyeing opportunities in professional media, market research and news distribution.

With media share values slumping, Hollick observed, “we're looking at a fairly interesting list of opportunities at sensible prices, compared with the very high prices last year”.

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)