Centaur losses spark £12m cost-cutting programme

LONDON - Centaur Media, publisher of Marketing Week and The Lawyer, has earmarked cost savings of £12m over the next two years, while reporting a pre-tax loss of £100,000 in the second half of 2008.

Saving costs: Graham Sherren, chairman of Centaur Media
Saving costs: Graham Sherren, chairman of Centaur Media

Geoff Wilmot, chief executive of Centaur, said: "These results reflect the extreme challenges faced by our markets during the period. We have responded with a progressive and radical programme of cost reductions."

But Wilmot said he remained confident of the group's prospects when the markets recover.

The £12m cost savings will be driven by a reduction in staff numbers by more than 15% over the next two years, according to the publisher.

The group's legal and financial division, which houses The Lawyer and Money Marketing, suffered more than half of the drop in revenue across the group, which Centaur attributed to the tough economic landscape.

Across the group, ad sales plunged 23% over the period, with recruitment advertising down 30%.

Across its marketing and creative division, which houses Marketing Week and Design Week, revenues fell by 18% to £.8.7m, with print recruitment advertising making up the bulk of the fall. However, the group said online recruitment continued to report strong growth.

Earlier this month, Centaur issued a profit warning to the City after it said recruitment advertising in January would be down two-thirds year on year.

The profit warning follows the closure of several of the group's titles. Public Private Finance, Brand Strategy and Precision Marketing have closed. The group has also overhauled Marketing Week, installing a new editorial team, and repositioned the print title as a more features-led offering.

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