Chrysalis adds to gloom over media outlook
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Chrysalis has appointed a new chief executive for its books business, to get it into shape for disposal, it announced yesterday as the media group reported that profits had been wiped out in the first half of the year.

Chrysalis has appointed a new chief executive for its books business, to get it into shape for disposal, it announced yesterday as the media group reported that profits had been wiped out in the first half of the year.

The company said that its radio business would see revenues shrink for the year as a whole, after March and April showed a decline of 12.5 per cent. First half revenues had been 2 per cent lower and it expected the full-year to show a 5 to 6 per cent decline.

Following similarly poor news on current trading from rival GCap Media on Monday, the radio stocks and the broader media sector was again sold off yesterday.

GCap added to the 24.5p fall on Monday, after it said that April revenues were down 17 per cent, with a further 20p loss yesterday, taking the shares to 290p. Chrysalis closed down 4p at 140p, as analysts reduced full-year profit forecast by about £2m to £5.5m.

ITV, the commercial television group, fell 2 per cent to 114.5p. The second quarter of the year for ITV is expected to show a drop of some 12 per cent, including an 18 per cent fall for June - which is up against the buoyant performance last year stemming from the European football championships.

One leading media buyer said that advertising sales had "hit a brick wall" in the second quarter. He now expected 2005 revenues at ITV to be down as much as 5 per cent but the City is being more optimistic and is banking on a recovery at the broadcaster in the autumn.

At Chrysalis, for the six months to the end of February, pre-tax profit came in at just £300,000, from £2.2m last time. As well as poor trading in its radio business, the result was dragged down by its illustrated book publishing interests, a small part of the group, which reported a loss of £2.2m.

The company announced that it had appointed Robin Wood, an illustrated books specialist, as chief executive of the division. Chris Wright, the group chairman, said Mr Wood's task was "to restore profitability and make it [books] attractive to a potential purchaser".

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