Digital and face-to-face drive Haymarket to £5.2m pre-tax profit

Haymarket, the international consumer and business publisher, has reported 2010 pre-tax profits of £5.2m after increasing revenues by 4% to £230.7m.

Haymarket's consumer titles What Car?, Stuff and Four Four Two
Haymarket's consumer titles What Car?, Stuff and Four Four Two

The results show the company, which is controlled by Lord Heseltine and his family, has made a recovery from a difficult year in 2009, when it made a pre-tax loss of £3.7m.

Chief executive Kevin Costello said talent and diversification at the company, which now derives 40% of revenue from digital products and face-to-face operations, was at the heart of the turnaround.

Haymarket publishes consumer titles including Stuff and What Car?, business titles including Media Week and Management Today, digital pureplays including Piston Heads and customer publications for UEFA and the British Army, as well as running a large scale events operation.

Operating profit before depreciation, amortisation of publishing and exhibition rights and exceptional items climbed 1.3% to £33.2m.

Revenues grew in the UK and the USA but most of all in the group of remaining countries Haymarket operates in, which include Germany, Hong Kong, India and Australia. Costello highlighted the fact that 30% of sales come from outside the UK. 

Group revenues including the share of joint ventures and associates, such as magazine distributor Frontline, grew 3.9% to £234.8m.

The UK operation cut its 2009 pre-tax loss of £5.9m down to £77,000, while the USA increased pre-tax profits from £2m to £2.8m and the other countries enjoyed a rise from £232,000 to £2.4m.

Management took a number of cost saving measures including headcount reductions, resulting in an exceptional restructuring cost of £2.8m. Average headcount during the year was 1,945, reduced from 2,053 in 2009.

The director's report stated that trading in 2011 has "been in line with expectations" and although some parts of the group "remain under pressure" the directors are "cautiously optimistic" that 2011's financial results will be better than 2010.

Haymarket chief executive Kevin Costello said: "Given the ongoing economic turbulence both in the UK and internationally I am thrilled that both sales and EBITDA are up like for like in 2010.

"Central to Haymarket’s robustness is our talent pool and diversification: by sector, by territory and by revenue type. From a completely print heritage we now generate 40% of our revenue from digital online information and face to face products."

Costello added that in the UK "despite ongoing cyclical and structural challenges, Haymarket enjoys strength in its diversification between sectors, revenue types and channels to market".

"In business media, an aggressive strategy of online migration has been pursued, which has resulted for example in three quarters of Haymarket’s recruitment advertising being placed online."

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