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"I am very pleased with our progress and development in the first half of the year... We are confident that this pattern will be repeated and I look forward to reporting another successful full year in January 2005."
——Andy Taylor, Sanctuary Executive Chairman
SANCTUARY GROUP FIRST HALF
UP A LOT
Multi-Sector Company Posts Strong Performance Despite Sagging Industry
London-based record label/artist-management company Sanctuary Group reported particularly strong first-half results as divisions in various sectors, including merchandising, posted big gains.

Sales grew 41% to £89 million ($163.5 million) for the first six months (ending March 31) of the company’s fiscal year. EBITDA grew by 18% to £10.6m ($19.5 million). Pre-tax profits grew by 15% to £6.9m ($12.7 million), and the company reported earnings per share from continuing operations of 1.58p—an increase of 15.3%.

Sanctuary said its profit margins decreased somewhat because it is selling more in international markets than at home and because of price pressures in the U.K. and the U.S.

The company’s recording division says has seen strong sales for The StrokesRoom on Fire and the Kelly and Ozzy Osbourne hit single “Changes.” Morrissey’s recent release, You Are the Quarry, also has been selling well.

Sanctuary has also been benefiting from music DVD sales, with Bob Marley, The Undertones and The Who’s The Kids are Alright discs all performing well.

On the management side, new division Sanctuary Urban—led by Beyoncé’s father Matthew Knowles—has signed Mary J. Blige and Eve. Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child are already on the roster.

Meanwhile, revenue from the Sanctuary’s Artist Services division, which handles retail and concert merchandising (Y-shirts, etc.), rose a reported 86% compared to the previous year.

Said Sanctuary Executive Chairman Andy Taylor, “I am very pleased with our progress and development in the first half of the year. Traditionally, our stronger trading has been the second half of the financial year, when many tours and festivals and a greater number of key record releases take place. We are confident that this pattern will be repeated and I look forward to reporting another successful full year in January 2005.”

The company is expecting to log full-year profits of around $19 million pounds ($34.9 million).
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