Sanctuary Group expects record full-year profits of £13.5m

Shares in the music management company Sanctuary Group hit a high note yesterday when it said full-year profits would be in line with market estimates of £13.5m. The shares rose 15 per cent to 37.75p The record figures will be boosted by new artists under management including Guns n' Roses, who join existing names such as Alison Moyet, Gary Moore, Iron Maiden and The Pet Shop Boys.

Sanctuary said its CD sales have grown 16.25 per cent year on year, compared with a decline in the global market of 7 per cent. A Phil Collins documentary recently screened on BBC1 is to be released as a DVD. Sanctuary claims it accounts for nearly 8 per cent of DVD music sales in Europe.

Sanctuary has built its businesss by concentrating on "long-term heritage" artists which have a solid fan base and are not subjected to the swings in music fashion. It has a record label but also offers artist management, tour arrangement and merchandise management.

The company has acquired four businesses in the past year including the £8m deal to buy Led Zeppelin's management company, Trinifold.

Sanctuary said its business was converting cash more strongly than expected and that net debt would be about £38.8m at the year end.

Andy Taylor, the company's chief executive, said immature markets such as China offered exciting growth opportunities.

Sanctuary said that Bravado, a merchandising business bought in January, had seen significant increases in trading in the second half with strong prospects for 2003.

Mr Taylor said: "Our proven approach of managing and recording established artists with long-term careers continues to reap rewards. With new artists, our objective is to support and help create new, long-term careers on a low-risk basis."

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