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Archant shows strong profit growth in first half of 2013

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Archant chairman Richard Jewson described himself as “pleased” with the company’s financial performance in the first half of 2013 in its interim statement, with strong cost control the key to improved profitability.

Mr Jewson announced headline turnover at £63.3m, down £3.1m (4.7%), with operating profit before amortisation of intangible assets and exceptional items at £3.5m, up by 80.9% or £1.6m, following cost reductions of £4.5m. The group operating profit of £0.6m, was £1.5m better than 2012’s loss of £0.9m.

Commenting on trading conditions, he said: “Whilst there is some evidence of a strengthening economy we have seen little of this in the consumer markets which we serve.

“Performance of our Anglia and Lifestyle businesses was relatively strong with declines of less than 3% whilst trading in London, where our magazines face a significant increase in competition, was more challenging. Digital revenues in all divisions continued to grow, with an overall increase of 18% on the same period last year.

He commented further on the status of a dispute with HMRC in relation to a tax matter dating back more than ten years, which he described as involving “complex matters of interpretation and judgement”, saying that the company was “continuing to engage in correspondence with them and we expect this to continue in the coming months.”

Mr Jewson concluded: “There is much comment that green shoots of recovery are becoming visible. As yet we see little evidence that this is building confidence amongst our customers. Business improvement will continue to take place by our own efforts, as past initiatives become established, and new ones are introduced. We will continue to pursue the strategies set out to transform the business and we anticipate the Group performance for the full year will be in line with target and well ahead of 2012.

© Archant Ltd 2013