On the back of a "best-ever" year for its music division, Chrysalis Group plc today gave an upbeat assessment of its future, while reporting losses for its most recent financial period which were in line with expectations.

The London-based firm reported its Chrysalis Music division -- comprising music publishing and recording companies -- achieved strong growth and increased its earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) by 28.2% in the year ended Aug. 31 to £3.1 million ($6.3 million).

Its music publishing arm increased its net publisher's share by 5.7% to £11.9 million ($24.43 million), or 9.7% on a constant currency basis, against an industry growth rate the group estimates at 0%-2%.

"These are figures delivered in a year that has seen enormous change by virtue of the sale of the Chrysalis Radio division," group CEO Jeremy Lascelle tells Billboard.biz, "and the results are completely in line with our expectations."

His comments were backed by Chrysalis Group chairman Chris Wright who, in a statement issued this morning to the London Stock Exchange, said the company had "produced a solid set of operating results."

In the year ending Aug. 31, group revenue slipped to £56.4 million ($116 million) on continuing operations, down from £67.9 million ($140 million) in the corresponding period last year. At the same time, the company generated a loss before interest, tax and amortisation £3.1 million ($6.39 million) - a figure which included one-off redundancy costs relating to changes following the Chrysalis Radio sale - against an EBITA of £600,000 ($1.2 million) last time.

But Lascelles says the strength of Chrysalis Music, and a "very, very good set of figures for core business," was a good omen. The company, he says, will benefit from a current release pattern which features a "best of" album from David Gray, followed by new sets from Gnarls Barkley, Feeder, the Raconteurs and Portishead. "It's a pretty healthy release schedule, and we think we are going to get back to a 5% growth level."

The year ahead will mark Lascelles' first full financial period at the head of the group, since rising from CEO of the Chrysalis Music division to group CEO in September. And he suggests the company will be in a bullish mood in the time ahead.

"We think we have a great business but probably, the size we are doesn't sit that comfortably with being a stand-alone PLC [publicly-listed company] business," he says. "There's a number of things we are looking at from an expansion point of view. Yes, we are looking at a number of different areas. I think this will be a period which we will be exploring in a much more aggressive way perhaps in the past, on all those options."

When asked whether the company's coffers were in good shape, he commented, "We have more than enough," noting the firm has tens of millions of pounds available to draw on in a securitization facility against current music publishing assets. "If we were to make an acquisition," he adds, "there's a lot of moveability, should we find the right thing at the right price."

Lascelles also poured cold water on continuing chatter that other music companies, including Warner Music Group, have been circling Chrysalis' assets. "[There have been] none that I'm aware of," he says. "But it's flattering that people would mention us in passing."

Chrysalis sold its radio assets to Global Radio for £170 million ($340 million) in July and the group expects to return £96.5 million ($199 million) to shareholders in mid-December.

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