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St Ives plc, the marketing services and print group, today announced its preliminary results for the year to August 2.

Group financial highlights include:
• Underlying revenue down 3.2% to £317.0m (2012: £327.4m)
• Underlying profit before tax up 10.7% to £26.8m (2012: £24.2m)
• Underlying basic earnings per share up 8.5% to 16.93p (2012: 15.61p)
• Profit before tax up 10.5% to £7.1m (2012: £6.4m)
• Basic earnings per share up 9.7% to 4.73p (2012: 4.31p)
• Total dividend up 13.0% to 6.50p per share (2012: 5.75p per share)
• Net debt of £15.2m after a cash outflow of £22.3m (2012: £22.0m) on acquisitions during the year (2012: net debt £13.4m)

Meanwhile, operational highlights comprise:
• Marketing Services now accounts for approximately 35% of group operating profit including profit from acquisitions made during the year on an annualised basis
• Marketing Services operating profit of £7.6m is more than the operating profit of the entire group in 2009
• Acquisitions of Amaze and Branded3 further enhanced the group’s marketing services’ digital offering
• International expansion of marketing services into New York and Singapore in response to existing client demand
• Disposal of St Ives Direct Bradford Limited effectively completes the exit from our non-core printing operations

Commenting on the results and the outlook for the group, Chief Executive Patrick Martell said: “I am pleased to report further progress in our stated strategy of building a broadly-based marketing solutions offering whilst moving away from commoditised print markets. Our marketing services segment has hit its target of contributing over 30% of the group’s operating profit, on an annualised basis, ahead of plan, and now generates more operating profit than the entire group four years ago. In addition, we have significantly improved the overall performance of our retained print businesses and will continue to selectively invest in them to broaden the offering and maintain their market leading positions. Our focus is on converting growth opportunities within marketing services. This will be achieved through increased cross-selling, developing new sector based propositions, continued investment in our existing businesses, client led international expansion, and further carefully chosen acquisitions. We are confident that the group is well positioned for future growth.”

Published on: 1:37PM on 1st October 2013