St Ives profits boosted by closures of rivals

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The Independent Online

Shares in the printing group St Ives rose as much as 4.2 per cent yesterday, after it unveiled a 12 per cent rise in full-year pre-tax profits and said it expected to benefit from recent closures among its rivals.

The group, whose clients include the Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury and Harper Collins, said profits had improved as a result of a restructuring last year, in which the company sold off its German business and shut its Caerphilly plant.

Miles Emley, the chairman, said: "Overcapacity and volatile demand in most of our markets made 2006 another challenging year However, the closure of a number of competitors in recent months should improve the balance of supply and demand."

The group said in the media sector, demand for books remained steady, adding it had managed to offset the effects of pricing pressure by increasing sales. However, it said its commercial division, which prints annual reports and accounts for companies, had performed less well because of falling prices.

The shares closed up 2.3 per cent yesterday at 246p, giving the group a market value of £252m.