BB publishers buck downward trend with profit jumps

Emap and Incisive Media, the trade magazine publishers owned by private equity giant Apax, are understood to have made surprise profit jumps last year. Retail Week and Local Government Chronicle publisher Emap is believed to have made about £100m pre-tax profit for the 12 months to the end of March, a marginal increase on 2008-09. Turnover was approaching £300m. Incisive, which is struggling with a £400m debt burden, is understood to have made earnings before interest, taxation, debt and amortisation – a key profit calculation – of nearly £50m, up from about £36m in 2007.

The results have defied the downturn in the business-to-business media market. Most big publishers have cut costs. Incisive has asked its 1,800 staff to take a week's unpaid leave between Christmas and New Year. Apax also plans to invest £20m of equity in Incisive to retain control of the business should it go through with a debt-for-equity swap with its lenders, led by Royal Bank of Scotland.

Apax had planned to merge Emap and Incisive last year, but the downturn in the financial markets made the move too expensive. In partnership with Guardian Media Group, Apax struck a deal to take Emap private at the end of 2007.

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