St Ives plc, the international marketing services group, today announces half-year results for the 26 weeks ended 30 January 2015.

The Group once again recorded a strong financial performance for the half year.

Underlying Group revenue of £175.0 million was 6% higher than the previous half year. Group underlying profit before tax grew to £14.9 million (2014: £12.9 million), an increase of 15%, and underlying operating margin increased from 8.3% to 9.3%.

Net debt rose marginally to £43.0 million (2014 year end: £42.7 million) and remains at a very manageable level of approximately one times EBITDA.

The Board has declared an interim dividend of 2.25 pence per share (2014: 2.15 pence), an increase of 5%, which will be payable on 8 May 2015 to shareholders on the register at 10 April 2015.

Business Highlights
• Revised corporate structure with three segments, reflecting new strategic positioning:
– Strategic Marketing: focused on high growth marketing segments of data, digital and consulting;
– Marketing Activation: delivering marketing communications through print and in‐store marketing services;
– Books: representing the UK’s market leading book printing business, Clays.

• Good progress in the first half of the year to drive growth:
– Increased collaboration across the Group, with over 90 of our clients now working with more than one Group business;
– Further internationalisation, with over 25% of Strategic Marketing revenues now derived from clients outside UK;
– Realise and Hive, acquired in March and May 2014 respectively, both integrated successfully and performing well.

• 74% of Group underlying operating profit generated by marketing services businesses (Strategic Marketing and Marketing Activation).
• Recent agreement with Penguin Random House, the UK’s largest trade publisher, helps to secure approximately 80% of the Books segment’s workload for next 3-6 years.
• Strong financial position provides scope for further acquisition of Strategic Marketing businesses.
• Current trading in line with management’s expectations.

Matt Armitage, Chief Executive, said:
“This has been a very productive six months for St Ives. We have generated healthy revenue growth through increased collaboration between our businesses, further investment in new service offerings and, of course, through the continued entrepreneurial drive of our individual management teams.

We have a very clear view of the growth opportunities that exist for us in our chosen marketing services disciplines, and we have the financial strength to take advantage of them.
Trading in the second half has started well and in line with our expectations and, with an improving economic climate allowing clients to increase their marketing spend, we remain confident of a positive outcome for the full year.”

Published on: 3:51PM on 10th March 2015