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  1. Media Business
April 8, 2024

Increased costs and slow return of events hit Mark Allen Group profits

B2B publisher "acquitted itself relatively well" despite increased costs in year to March 2023.

By Charlotte Tobitt

UK-based B2B publisher Mark Allen Group has said rising costs and a continued slow return of events post-Covid meant a “more challenging” year in 2022/23.

Revenue in the year to 31 March 2023 was up 10% to £66.1m (boosted partly by acquisitions), this compares to 37% growth the year before. Digital now accounts for £16.4m, or 25%, of the group’s revenues.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was down 4% to £12.5m and profit before tax was down 7% to £8.7m.

However, the company said that “given the very difficult trading circumstances” it “acquitted itself relatively well”.

Mark Allen Group operates print, digital and event brands in specialist sectors including healthcare, education, music, aviation, telecommunications and HR. One of its biggest brands by circulation, Farmers Weekly, was shortlisted for specialist/B2B journalism website of the year at Press Gazette’s Future of Media Awards last year.

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The company’s results for 2022/23, filed under Mark Allen Holdings Ltd, showed the impact of “vastly enhanced costs of print, postage, distribution and energy”, company chairman Mark Allen said.

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The publisher still gave pay rises averaging 4.5%, he added. Staff numbers also increased.

“The second part of the year saw live events coming back into play, but they are still a long way below the level they were at before the pandemic,” Allen. Events did retake their former place as the group’s second biggest revenue-driver behind advertising, overtaking subscriptions.

In the financial year in question, Mark Allen Group bought net zero and energy management expo EMEX in June 2022 and brands owned by Bonhill Group including Bonhill Create, Portfolio Adviser, Expert Investor, International Adviser, Fund Selector Asia and ESG Clarity.

The Bonhill deal in January last year added wealth management and financial services to the sectors it operates in and gave it a presence in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Allen wrote that more acquisitions could follow, saying the pace of growth (also including organic growth) would "depend on how the economy recovers".

Since March last year, the group has bought The Glazing Summit event and agricultural brands including Pig World and Poultry Business from Lewis Business Media.

At the end of the financial year, Mark Allen Group had cash balances of £8.2m, down from £11.4m a year earlier.

Advertising made up the biggest chunk of revenues (40%, or £26.6m). Conferences jumped up from a 25% share in 2021/22 to 32%, overtaking subscriptions and bookstall sales (now 22%, or £14.8m) to retake the second place it had before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Just over three-quarters (77%) of revenues are generated in the UK.

Staff numbers increased from an average of 443 to 477, including 135 in editorial (up from 127 a year earlier). Staff costs were up 8% to £22.7m.

The company directors received £2.7m, with £591,579 for the highest-paid director.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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