Group optimistic on H2 album schedule.

A weakened radio market and continued problems at its book publishing unit saw British multi-faceted independent media company Chrysalis Group today (May 10) report a sharp fall in first-half profit.

Total operating profit for the half-year ending Feb. 28 sank to £1.7 million ($3.2 million) vs. £3.7 million ($6.9 million) in the corresponding period last year, while pre-tax profits were down to £300,000 ($565,000) from £2.2 million ($4.1 million). At the same time, group revenue declined to £79.7 million ($150 million) from £84.6 million ($159 million), due in part to discontinued businesses.

The firm -- whose Heart 106.2 FM station recently took the lead as London's most popular commercial station in a Rajar audience survey -- said radio revenues were down 12.5% in March and April, and projected full-year radio revenues to decline by 5-6%.

Chrysalis Radio suffered what the company described as "a period of marked volatility" during the first half to register a 2.2% drop in revenues to £32.6 million ($61 million).

Chrysalis' music division declared a 21% drop in profit to £1.5 million ($2.8 million) on revenue down slightly at £36.3 million ($68.3 million). The music division incorporates the Chrysalis Music publishing companies worldwide, the Echo Label and international distributors Lasgo Chrysalis.

On an upbeat note, the company points to the success of Athlete and Feeder -- both published by Chrysalis Music -- whose respective albums "Tourist" and "Pushing the Senses" took the top two places in the same week's U.K. chart. The Feeder album, which was issued on the Echo Label, has shipped 200,000 copies since its February release, Chrysalis said.

A weighted second-half release schedule includes albums from I Am Kloot, the Engineers, Morcheeba and the Stands.

Despite reporting a small drop in revenues and EBITA, Lasgo delivered a "consistently creditable performance" in its sector, the company said.

"I'm particularly gratified because these successes are the fruits of the investments we've made in the past few years, both across the board in musical terms and across the world," comments Chrysalis Music CEO Jeremy Lascelles.

In a move to repel growing speculation that the company was planning to spin off one or more of its units, group CEO Richard Huntingford confirmed that music would remain core to its business. "The recently announced acquisition of (radio station) Century 106 demonstrates our commitment to build on the unique and market leading positions we have created in both Chrysalis Radio and Chrysalis Music, enhancing the value of these assets for the long-term benefit of all shareholders in the Chrysalis Group."

The group recently held merger talks with Guardian Media Group's radio interest.