Future confident despite revenue drop

Overall operating profit across group rises to £3m.

Special interest publisher Future recorded a year-on-year fall in revenue of seven per cent over the six months to the end of March.

Revenue fell to £71.4m in the half-year to March from the £76.6m the company made in the same period the previous year.

Future said profit before deductions, including tax and other costs, stood at £4.4m, down from £4.6m in the same period last year.

The company's US business made a pre-deductions loss of £400,000, improving on the £1.3m it lost in the same period in 2009, as the UK business made pre-deductions profit of £6.1m - down from £7.4m in the same period the previous year.

Overall operating profit across the group rose to £3m from £2.6m in the six months to March last year.

The company said customer publishing revenue rose 20 per cent as a result of winning new clients, while UK subscription revenue rose six per cent.

Stevie Spring, chief executive of Future, said the company was getting back on track after an extraordinary 2009 which was dominated by industry-wide newsstand disruption on its US business.

She said: "While it may be tempting fate to say that the worst is behind us, not least with so many continuing uncertainties at a macro-economic level, we are now seeing some notable improvements in trading patterns which we're confident will benefit us in the second half."

Spring said that Future had made "good progress" during its half-year towards returning its US business to profit and that it remained the company's key priority as Future's UK business had "delivered another robust performance".

Future's Technology, Music & Movies and Active magazine sectors (which make up 73 per cent of the business) helped its improving position, Spring said, while its portfolio of Games titles was weaker in comparison.

Spring said Classic Rock magazine increased its circulation revenue by 25 per cent and advertising revenue by 55 per cent in the period, improving its market share against competitors like Uncut and Mojo.

Future said one of its key strategic priorities was to now diversify its revenue beyond print and further into digital.

Spring said the company was trading well within its banking covenants and that over the last year Future had reduced its net debt by 50 per cent to £11.5m.

Oliver Luft writes for the Press Gazette.