On an eventful day for EMI Group plc, the music major has confirmed revenue declines at both its recorded music and music publishing divisions, and reported a steep fall in full-year earnings.

The group's preliminary results, which cover the financial year ending March 31, were announced at the same time as EMI's surprise late-afternoon announcement that its directors would support a cash bid from private equity firm Terra Firma. EMI was not expected to reveal its financial figures until Wednesday.

Much of the sting in today's dour report, however, was absorbed by an EMI forecast on April 18.

The London-based group's earnings before exceptional items and amortisation (EBITA) suffered a 37% hit, down to £174 million ($342 million) from £275.8 million ($543 million) in the corresponding period last time, it said.

And despite million-plus sellers from the likes of Norah Jones, The Beatles, Keith Urban, Corinne Bailey Rae, Bob Seger and Joss Stone, profit from operations before exceptional items and amortisation (EBITA) at EMI Music declined to £44.9 million ($88 million), leading to an operating margin of 3.3%. This decline in profitability, it explains, "was driven by the flow through to profits from the reduction in revenues."

As expected, EMI Music revenue dropped by 15% at constant currency. EMI's recorded music arm also recorded "notable decreases" in revenue at its U.K. and Ireland and Latin America businesses, and singled out the difficult circumstances of the North American market.

EMI Music Publishing generated profit from operations before exceptional items and amortisation (EBITA) of £105.6 million, up 4.2% at constant currency rates, with operating margin improving to 26.3%.

Citing "recorded music market conditions", the publishing giant took a rare hit, with revenue shrinking 0.9% during the period at constant currency to £401.3 million ($789 million). EMI last month had predicted "broadly flat" revenue from its publishing division.

"This has been a challenging year for EMI Group primarily as a result of the worsening market conditions which affected the entire recorded music industry with revenue declines in every major music market across the world," commented Eric Nicoli, CEO of EMI Group, in a statement issued to the London Stock Exchange.

"This led us to implement a restructuring plan which, as well as removing cost from the business, will fundamentally change the way we do business. Moving forward, we will realign our investment focus and direct our resources to areas where we will make higher and more sustainable returns."

On an upbeat tone, EMI reported a 46.5% increase in group digital revenue to £164.2 million ($323 million). Digital revenue now represents almost 10% of the group's total.

EMI also reaffirmed its commitment to "invest significantly" in A&R and in digital capabilities, "so that we remain positioned at the forefront of the industry in capitalising on the opportunities arising from the market's evolution."

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