Future suspends dividend as ad sales slump

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The Independent Online

Profits at the magazine publisher Future tumbled 39 per cent last year on a sharp fall in advertising sales in the United States, prompting the group to suspend its dividend.

Shares of the company, which publishes the Official Xbox Magazine and a slew of other consumer magazines, fell 17 per cent to a low of 8.75p.

The company has been seeing declining print advertising revenue at its US publications, which account for a fourth of its sales, and is transforming the business to a primarily digital model to tap the growing online advertising market.

Future, which last month named its new chief executive and finance director, is in the midst of a restructuring that has seen job cuts and thedeparture of several seniorexecutives.

These cost-savings and a rise in digital revenue, which accounts for 11 per cent of total sales, are expected to help the company return to profit growth in this financial year, Future said.

"We are seeing digital growth of 36 per cent over the last year and we are seeing very fast growth of sales on the iPad, thanks to the Apple Newsstand launch," the chief executive Mark Wood said.

Adjusted pre-tax profits for the year ended 30 September were £5.1m, compared with £8.3m pounds a year ago. Revenues fell 6 per cent to £142m.