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Future reports strong results for 2003

Rob Fahey 13:44 10/03/2004

Leading games magazine publisher shows solid figures as portfolio continues to grow

Magazine publishing group Future Network has announcd its full year financial results for 2003, showing strong growth in both turnover and profits as circulation revenues climbed significantly.

Turnover for the year was £182.7 million, up 11 per cent on the previous year's figure, while adjusted pre-tax profit was £22.7 million - up some 21 per cent. Once goodwill amortisation is taken into account, however, the pre-tax profit is £9.7 million, down some 9 per cent, but the figures still show solid growth of the company's underlying business.

Perhaps the most important figures in the results are the company's divided revenue figures - which show that circulation revenues were up by 12 per cent, with advertising revenues showing growth of 9 per cent.

The company also continues to expand its portfolio, and 2003 saw 23 new monthly magazines being added to the range - 15 of them new launches, and eight of them acquired - with the purchase of Computec's UK games magazine line-up being the primary acquisition event of the year for Future. The company now has some 98 monthly consumer magazines spread across operations in four countries.

"The Future Network is an international business which has traded well in 2003," commented Future chief executive Greg Ingham. "It is growing, and is in a strong position in the field of special-interest consumer magazine publishers. We have valuable consumer properties managed by a talented and motivated team. I am optimistic that our shareholders' confidence in The Future Network will continue to prove justified in the years to come."

The strong performance of the business continues to confound widely held expectations that print magazine sales will suffer as consumers increasingly turn to the Internet for information and news related to specialist interest subjects such as games and computing. However, despite the strong position of the company in these latest financial figures, it would be unwise to underestimate the challenges which the sector will face in the coming years, particularly as the next generation of home consoles are likely to include built-in access to online information services and demo downloads which could render magazine coverdiscs - a key USP for official console magazines - finally obsolete.

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