Solid pop sales pump up the profits at EMI

EMI, the music recording, publishing and retail arm of the now- demerged Thorn-EMI, yesterday cheered the City with better-than-expected half-year results, buoyed by solid sales from such lead acts as George Michael and Tina Turner.

Analysts said that big sellers in the current period, led by the new all-female band Spice Girls, would give an extra boost to the crucial second half, which includes the Christmas season.

Pre-tax profits of pounds 112.5m, up 9.4 per cent on a pro forma basis, indicated that recent gloom and doom in the music business might have been overplayed, analysts added yesterday. The shares, which still bear a slight stock market premium on takeover hopes, rose 23.5p to pounds 12.94p yesterday.

Sir Colin Southgate, EMI's chairman, said yesterday the market had been misled by recent poor results from such music giants as Polygram and MCA, which did not necessarily point to a downward secular trend in sales.

"There is a tremendous misunderstanding about the [music] market," he said. "When you account for differences in wholesale and retail markets, and recent currency movements, the trends are actually quite good."

The US market had been softer, he conceded, but Europe and the dynamic economies of South-east Asia and Latin America more than made up for it. EMI's business is heavily weighted toward Europe and other world markets, and the company has never developed a leading presence in the US.

The results were also helped by EMI's relatively light exposure to such difficult markets as classical music, and by its strong local catalogues, particularly in South America and Europe.

EMI's third quarter, which coincides with the Christmas selling period, is likely to be somewhat disappointing, however, due to the lack of big- name releases. The company is expected to rely more on its back catalogue to drive compilation sales, and on one or two big sellers, which could include the new Spice Girls album and the third and final instalment of the Beatles Anthology album, which entered the US charts at number one. Also scheduled for third-quarter release is a three-album special from the Artist Formerly Known as Prince.

EMI has high hopes for Spice Girls, the UK-based band. The all-girl group is "definitely part of a trend", Sir Colin said. "We have seen all-boy bands, but now it the turn of the girls."

The fourth quarter, starting 1 January, is expected to be particularly strong, with new work from Duran Duran, Simple Minds, Blur, Supergrass and Robbie Williams, formerly with the hit group Take That.

Elsewhere in the group, the music publishing arm had a record half, which the company is actively seeking to build. The HMV retail operations, meanwhile, saw sales ahead by 17.4 per cent to pounds 359.8m, on which the company made an expected seasonal loss of pounds 11m.

Analysts expect full-year figures of about pounds 400m, or about 54p a share. The company declared an interim dividend of 8p a share, up from 7.1p last time.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Direct Marketing Manager - B2C, Financial Services - Slough

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas