All publishers are keen to point out they are trading well in the recession wherever possible and B2B magazine and online publisher United Business Media (LSE: UBM) is no exception. In an interim management statement UBM says that profits will be in line with its expectations for 2009 despite “volatile trading conditions” in many of its markets. The company made 48 percent of its profits from events last year and after years of reducing its exposure to print it will make just 10 percent of profits from magazines this year. Even so, the company expects to make lower returns from some of its print and online assets this year.
— Online data up, print subs down: UBM makes about 18 percent of it profits from subscription-only online data services such as paper industry feed RISI and construction contract service ABI Barbour and the company says the division is set to return a higher percentage of profits and higher overall profits in 2009 compared to last year. But, UBM is suffering revenue declines in online banner advertising and for its print directory businesses both of which are expected to cause a shortfall of between £5 million and £10 million from total predicted revenues of £250 million.
— M&A opportunities: After slowing its rate of making acquisitions in 2007 and 2008 because of inflated prices, UBM says it continues “to be presented with numerous acquisition opportunities”. But, without naming any names, it believes that most of the businesses on offer will “struggle to adapt to current economic and business environment”. As the industry crawls out of the credit crunch, UMB expects “higher quality” investment opportunities to appear and it’s managing its debt appropriately in case one does.