Future announces £9m return to black

Future, the specialist magazine publisher, this week underlined its return to financial health, announcing that it had transformed a £36.7 million loss in 2006 into a £9.2 million pre-tax profit for the year to the end of September.

The figure is being seen as a strong endorsement of the recovery plan set in motion by Stevie Spring, following her arrival as the chief executive last year. However, she warned of some significant challenges ahead, particularly if the US slips into recession.

"The US represents a big growth opportunity for us," she said. "But the state of the dollar isn't good. It means our biggest challenges concern things over which we have no control."

The company's return from the red to the black is the culmination of a radical programme implemented by Spring involving cutbacks, selling off unprofitable subsidiaries and dealing with Future's disastrous acquisition of 38 magazines from Highbury House in 2005.

However, she has dampened speculation that Future might follow its return to profit with a major acquisition that would allow it to compete with the likes of Emap.

"We'll make some more 'tuck-in' acquisitions as we did in Australia in the summer," she said. "But we don't want to move into general consumer magazines because the economics are very different."