Having promised an improved performance in the second half of the year back in July, business publisher and events organiser UBM is delivering on that pledge, although the Data Services and Marketing Services segments are struggling.
Revenue in the first nine months of 2012 was up 4.0%, or 4.9% on an underlying basis, to £734.6m from £706.2m the year before. Investec had forecast nine-month sales of around £746m.
Adjusted operating profit was up 11.1% to £141.7m from £127.5m in the first nine months of last year. Investec had forecast earning before interest and tax of £143m. Operating margin improved to 19.3% from 18.1% a year earlier, ahead of Investec's forecast of 19%.
UBM's Events business was the main engine of growth, with revenue up an underlying 12.7% to £338.9m, while operating profit jumped 22.9% to £105.1m.
"Events growth continues as expected with good growth in our large quarter-three events, particularly in China, and we continue to invest to strengthen our global Events business," declared David Levin, UBM's Chief Executive Officer.
The PR Newswire business saw underlying revenue growth of 4.5% to £147.2m, while adjusted operating profit improved 13.0% to £32.2m.
The Data Services segment saw an underlying fall of 2.2% in revenue to £123.7m, while adjusted operating profit tumbled 16.7% to £15.5m.
In the Marketing Services division, the Online segment lost money, posting an adjusted operating loss of £0.2m, versus a profit of £0.5m the year before, on revenue that was up an underlying 5.3% to £67.1m. The Print segment saw revenue fall an underlying 14.5% to £57.7m, but stayed in the black at £2.9m, albeit with adjusted operating profit down 38.3% from £4.7m the year before.
"The Data Services and Marketing Services segments reflects slightly softer market conditions in businesses that serve the global semi-conductor industry. Our guidance reflects this softness and we remain mindful of the continuing uncertainties in the macro environment," Levin revealed.
The strategic review of Data Services, which could see the unit put up for sale, could be completed by the end of March 2013.
UBM's consolidated net debt stood at £518.9m as at September 30th, down from £536.8m at June 30th.
The group has decided to seek approval from shareholders to return UBM's tax domicile to the UK before the end of the year.
"UBM remains on track to deliver the consolidated group guidance we reiterated
at the interim results," Levin maintained.
In a separate announcement UBM said it has acquired a 70% stake in EFEM, the organiser of the leading baby product trade show in Turkey.
UBM has formed a joint venture with EFEM to be called UBM ICC. UBM ICC will develop EFEM's existing baby products shows and will further expand UBM's global portfolio of baby product exhibitions.
"We continue to see great opportunities in countries like Turkey, Brazil, India, China and across the AEAN countries for us to leverage our global infrastructure and event portfolio to support the development of national and global trade in the fast-growing markets we have chosen to operate in," Levin revealed.