MailOnline Boosts Growth at Daily Mail and General Trust

LONDON -- Shares in Daily Mail and General Trust (LSE: DMGT  ) rose more than 2.5% in early trade  following a positive trading update for the five months up to and including the end of Feb. 2013, released this morning. The British media conglomerate reported that trading was in line with expectations, with underlying revenue up 2% year on year. 

Its business-to-business operations saw healthy underlying growth of 5%, including continued growth for its Risk Management Solutions business "despite the focus this year on the development of the new software platform, RMS(one), to be launched in 2014".

Elsewhere, both the "dmg information" and "dmg events" divisions reported double-digit underlying growth of 13%, driven by the Education (Hobsons), Property (Landmark and EDR), and Energy (Genscape) businesses, and the biennial ADIPEC and Gastech events, respectively. Euromoney Institutional Investor is expected to see revenues decrease 1% following "challenging market conditions," but adjusted pre-tax profit ought to be broadly in line with last year.

That weak market affected the "dmg media" division -- which comprises brands such as Zoopla Property Group, Wowcher, Metro, and Evenbase -- too, with underlying revenues down 2%, circulation revenues 6%, and underlying newspaper advertising dropping 8%. However, the Daily Mail's market shares ramped up to 22.2% and The Mail on Sunday's to 21%, while total underlying advertising revenues increased 1%, with "strong digital growth more than offsetting the decline in print advertising."

Jewel in the crown
The jewel in Daily Mail and General Trust's crown has to be MailOnline, which overtook Wall Street Journal Online last year to rank as the No. 1 most-visited news website globally. Digital advertising increased a huge 59% for the period and, excluding the growth from Zoopla, digital advertising revenues were up 13 million pounds (in contrast to the 11 million pound drop in print advertising revenue for the same period).

February alone brought MailOnline 111 million unique visitors, which was an increase of 22% against the same month in 2012. The trading update also reported record levels of traffic to iPhone and Android apps, while mobile access now accounts for a record 43% of total visits. Full-year revenues are expected to be around 43 million pounds.

Valued at 2.2 billion pounds, Daily Mail trades on about 13 times predicted profits for this year. Although the share price has risen sharply in the past six months, it remains well below its 2007 high.

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