Half Year Financial Highlights:
DMGT underlying revenue up 6%; reported revenue up 2%
Underlying operating profit up 21%; operating margin up to 17%
Adjusted profit before tax of £151m, up 16%
Good growth from B2B; underlying revenue up 11% and underlying profit up 12%
Underlying revenue growth of 1% at dmg media; improved profit margin driven by cost efficiencies, resulting in underlying profit up 44%
Active portfolio management; bolt-on acquisitions and disposal of non-core assets; Zoopla Property Group IPO and Jobsite disposal announced this morning
Net debt up £220m to £793m; net debt:EBITDA ratio of 2.0
Dividend increased by 5%
Martin Morgan, Chief Executive, said:
"We have delivered a good performance in the first half, reflecting the strength of our B2B companies and, within dmg media, the resilience of the Mail businesses, the benefits of cost saving initiatives and effective portfolio management.
Our international B2B companies have increased their underlying revenues and profits by 11% and 12% respectively. Our consumer business, dmg media, increased underlying revenues by 1%, with the growth from digital revenues more than offsetting the decline in print revenues. dmg media delivered a 44% underlying increase in operating profit as a result of a reduction in and relocation of printing sites last year and ongoing cost saving measures.
It is pleasing that adjusted profit before tax has increased by 16% and earnings per share by 20% despite the adverse impact of the stronger pound during the first half.
We have continued to actively manage our portfolio of businesses and have made several acquisitions and disposals during the period and into the second half, to improve the overall quality and growth prospects of the Group.
Relative to last year, the first half of the year benefited from the February 2013 increase to the cover price of the Daily Mail and the print rationalisation that took place during 2013. Conversely we expect the comparative performance in the second half of the year to be adversely impacted by constant cover prices, increasing costs at RMS in relation to RMS(one) and the strength of the pound. Overall therefore, the outlook for the Group remains in line with market expectations."