Chief executive's review of operations


Emap traded very well in its first full year of joint ownership by GMG and Apax Partners. Like TMG it proved relatively resilient to the global economic downturn.

It enjoyed a particularly strong first six months of 2008/09, led by an excellent performance from the Cannes Lions advertising festival in June.

The post-summer slowdown in the economy saw the onset of much tougher trading conditions, but the business still delivered operating profit growth on the prior year.

Total operating profit before exceptional items, restructuring costs and amortisation of intangible assets was £98.2 million on total turnover of £284.9 million.

Emap has a diverse portfolio of market-leading brands spanning electronic data services, events and publishing.

At the heart of a strong performance by Emap Connect, the exhibitions and festivals division, was Cannes Lions’ most successful event in its 56-year history, with more than 28,000 award entries.

Connect’s major home and gift exhibitions – Spring Fair and Autumn Fair – confirmed their market-leading positions in challenging economic times, attracting over 80,000 buyers. The Pure womenswear exhibition attracted a record number (almost 10,500) of quality fashion buyers.

WGSN, the world’s leading online fashion and style forecasting service, provides creative intelligence to retailers, brands and manufacturers on key fashion trends. It is the largest business in Emap Insight, the company’s electronic data division, and again performed well, growing revenue and profit.

Serving mostly fashion retail and consumer sectors, WGSN was not immune to the effects of the global downturn, and growth did slow in 2008/09. Despite the downturn, over 500 new customers signed up in the past year.

From the creation of the Insight division in May 2008 it was apparent that focused activities and clear KPIs would play a large part in performance improvement.

A re-engineered approach to both Groundsure (property environmental reports) and Glenigan (construction planning data) was essential to counteract the sharp reduction in transaction activity in the housing market. Planet Retail was refocused to concentrate on driving sales growth in mainland Europe.

DeHavilland, the political monitoring business, also determined a change to its approach – from a broad offering to targeting the needs of customer segments.

CAP, the automotive valuation business, continued to perform strongly, growing revenue in spite of the rapid decline in new car sales.

The Prime Minister attended an unprecedented three Emap Inform events in 2008, underlining the critical role its two leading weekly healthcare magazines – Health Service Journal and Nursing Times – play in the National Health Service.

Emap Inform publishes 20 weekly and monthly business magazines across four market sectors in the UK: public sector, construction, retail and media. Harnessing the magazine brands, the business runs 29 content sites and jobs boards and organises 35 sets of industry awards.

The year also saw the relaunch of five of Emap Inform’s top ten weekly magazines, web traffic more than doubling, and over 23,000 people attending the division’s gala awards events. This performance was itself recognised with unparalleled success at the publishing industry’s awards schemes. Emap Inform people picked up ten national awards, including three from the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA).

Every weekday, expert speakers, public and private sector delegates and sponsors gather at an Emap Networks event to discover and debate the latest strategies and techniques in their market. Over 30,000 delegates attended 300 events in health, education, local government, retail, media, architecture and the built environment.

Some 1,000 sponsors and exhibitors last year generated new business, launched new products, entered new markets and won market share by working with Emap Networks. Sponsors contributed around one third of Networks’ revenue.

Emap Middle East is one of the leading providers of information to companies doing business in and with the Middle East.

Its two brands, MEED and AME Info, deliver news, comment and analysis across 12 countries and 14 industry sectors to more than 1.7 million unique users per month online as well as providing in-depth data and business intelligence through subscription products. MEED also brings buyers and sellers together at over 30 industry conferences and networking clubs.

The division traded very strongly through the first nine months of 2008/09, though the economic slowdown in the Middle East suggests a tougher year in prospect for Dubai-based companies. Emap Middle East’s strength in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia should ensure another resilient performance this year.

The recession will provide a testing examination of Emap’s resilience. However, it is a strong and diverse business, with profit evenly distributed between its three prime formats of delivery: data, events and publishing.

As is the case with Trader Media Group, there is strong shareholder alignment between GMG and Apax Partners, which allows Emap to pursue its strategic objectives with clarity and confidence.

Its 35% operating margin puts it at the forefront of the business-to-business sector and we expect Emap’s businesses to continue to outperform their peers in the industry.

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