Metal Bulletin shares dive 10.6%

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The Independent Online

The specialist magazine publisher Metal Bulletin yesterday warned the weak advertising market would take its toll on profits, sending its shares down 10.6 per cent.

The company, which publishes magazines about the metals and commodities markets, said it now expected current year profits to be about 5 per cent beneath last year's £8.5m.

The stock slumped 25p to 210p after the company warned that sales from its existing operations in the first quarter were 13 per cent beneath last year's level.

The fall, it said, was mainly due to the "ongoing weakness" in advertising, which represents about a quarter of the company's income. More specifically, the company said revenues from both advertising and subscriptions for its core twice-weekly Metal Bulletin title were £450,000 lower than in the first quarter of last year.

"The scale of the shortfall has had a particularly adverse impact on our expectations for the flagship journal and, as a result, profit for the group is likely to be circa 5 per cent below last year," Brian Moritz, chairman, told the company's AGM.

Analysts at ABN Amro, the company's house broker, cut £1.5m off their 2002 profit forecast to £8m, and £1.5m off their 2003 profit forecast to £9.5m.

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