Crysalis offers hope of a turnaround

Media group Chrysalis suggested today it may have turned the corner after a tough year saw it slump nearly £30m (€44.6m) into the red.

Media group Chrysalis suggested today it may have turned the corner after a tough year saw it slump nearly £30m (€44.6m) into the red.

The London-based firm flagged a 4% increase in like-for-like revenues during September and October at its radio division, which includes stations such as LBC and Galaxy.

Recent figures hae shown that presenter Jamie Theakston added 163,000 listeners t his Heart 106.2 show over the summer, while a number one album from singer-songwriter David Gray has helped Chrysalis Music make a strong start to the year.

Chief executive Richard Huntingford said this demonstrated the benefits of a “renewed focus” that has seen Chrysalis dispose of its loss-making books business and cull the number of artists on the roster of its Echo record label.

He described 2005 as “a difficult year” for the Chrysalis group, with the radio industry suffering from firms spending less on advertising their products over the airwaves.

Losses of £29.9m (€44.5m) for the 12 months to August 31 largely reflected the writedown of assets in Chrysalis Books, which was sold to its managers for £12.5m (€18.5m) earlier this month.

This deficit marked a reversal of the £9.1m (€13.5m) profits at the same stage of last year, although Chrysalis remained in the black when the publisher of novels by actress Joan Collins and ex-Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith is eliminated.

Chrysalis said annual profits from continuing businesses totalled £2.7m (€4m) compared with a surplus of £9.5m (€14.1m) a year earlier.

Despite this performance, Mr Huntingford cited the return of Chrysalis Radio to revenues growth over the past two months among the factors that were giving him “confidence that the current financial year will be a successful year for the group”.

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