A banner year for live music helped U.K. independent Sanctuary Group plc record year-on-year pre-tax profit growth of 20% to £17 million ($30 million) for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2003.

A banner year for live music helped U.K. independent Sanctuary Group plc record year-on-year pre-tax profit growth of 20% to £17 million ($30 million) for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2003. Group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved 20% to £24.5 million ($44 million).

Full-year revenues rose 28.5% to £151.7 million ($272 million) during the period thanks largely to what Sanctuary describes as "the best year ever for live music." Through its live booking division, Sanctuary was involved in about 7,000 shows across Europe, Asia and Australia, for such acts as Dido, Robbie Williams, The Darkness, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Coldplay.

Sanctuary's artist management arm also achieved new heights thanks to Iron Maiden's "most successful year ever," during which time the veteran rockers played to more than a million people across Europe. On the recorded music side, Sanctuary highlights albums success from Kiss, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and rising British band The Libertines.

In a statement issued Monday, Sanctuary CEO Andy Taylor says the group is eyeing up acquisitions of a number of unidentified niche recorded and music publishing catalogs. A recent £30 million ($53 million) fund raising will help drive further its strategic growth.

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