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Future slips to three-year low on profit warning

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Rob Fahey 11:55 10/03/2006

Videogames titles among the worst affected, as weak newsstand sales hit mag publisher

Shares in specialist magazine publisher Future plc dropped to a three-year low on the London Stock Exchange this morning, after the firm warned that "challenging" market conditions would see its full-year profits sliding.

A statement issued to the City this morning indicated that pre-tax profits for the full year ended September 2006 will be GBP 4 to GBP 5 million lower than anticipated - while operating profits in the first half, which ends on March 31st, will show negative growth compared to last year's figures.

"Recent market conditions have been more challenging," the statement informed investors, "and are holding back prospects for the current financial year."

Future identified newsstand sales of magazines as the key factor in the underperformance, with videogames titles listed as one of the areas worst-hit - although the company did point out that the impact on the games sector was less significant than on performance car titles and women's interest magazines.

Shares in the publisher collapsed to 39 pence in early trading this morning, a decline of over 20 per cent which brought the company's price below 40p for the first time in almost four years, but rallied slightly later in the morning, with the price standing at just over 42 per cent at the time of publication - a fall of almost 15 per cent.

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