The sales growth of Heat magazine contributed to a rise in Emap’s pre-tax profits in the year to 31 March 2002 but corresponded to a drop in total sales, which the publishing group claimed was reflected in a slow advertising market and the sell-off of its US business last year.
Following the disposal of Emap USA last August, total sales dropped 11 per cent to £1.03bn from £1.15bn in the previous year. Pre-tax profits were up 6 per cent to £151m from £143m.
Emap’s consumer media division, home to the likes of Heat and FHM, saw an 8 per cent rise in sales to £324m, which the company attributed to "rising circulation and a resilient advertising performance".
However, operating profit in the division fell by 10 per cent to £50m, largely reflected by investment in the launch of FHM’s US edition. A total of £13m was spent on launches in the year, down from £18m previously.
Sluggish advertising had a higher impact on Emap Communications, the group’s business-to-business division, which saw turnover fall 8 per cent to £194m and operating profit by 11 per cent to £54m.
Recruitment advertising underlying growth was up 2 per cent, while display advertising slipped 10 per cent, mainly affecting its media and telecom titles.
Impact of the advertising downturn extended to radio division Emap Performance, where turnover fell by 1 per cent to £139m, and operating profits by 11 per cent to £41m.
By Wale Azeez