Our Consumer Media business performed especially well in the period, with underlying revenues 2% higher. Our B2B businesses also delivered a 2% increase in underlying revenues over the period.
Paul Zwillenberg, Chief Executive, said: “I am pleased to report that we have delivered a robust financial performance this year, achieving 2% underlying revenue growth and a 10% increase in underlying cash operating income.
We have continued to deliver successfully against our three strategic priorities of increasing portfolio focus, improving operational execution and maintaining financial flexibility. Over the last three years, we have moved from ten sectors to five, from 40 operating companies to eight and from net debt of £679m to a net cash position of nearly £250m. During the year, we also returned almost £900m of capital to our shareholders in the form of Euromoney shares and a £200m special dividend.
We are now in the next phase of the Group’s transformation, optimising our business through targeted and disciplined investment. The recent acquisition of the ‘i’ demonstrates the appetite we have to invest in high quality, content-led businesses.
I would like to thank everyone throughout the Group for their continued commitment and hard work in delivering this performance.”
Performance by business:
Insurance Risk revenues were 1% higher on an underlying basis as the benefit of favourable contract renewals during the year more than offset the impact of industry consolidation and historic RMS(one) delivery issues. Adjusted operating margin increased from 15% to 17%.
In EdTech, Hobsons grew underlying revenues by 12%, with continued growth from each of the three product lines: Naviance, Intersect and Starfish. Hobsons also delivered a transformation in its cash operating income margin, which increased from 3% to 10%.
Property Information revenues were stable on an underlying basis. Revenue growth in the US was offset by the European business which continues to face challenging conditions in the UK residential market. Property Information’s cash operating income margin increased from 18% to 20%.
Events and Exhibitions revenues grew by 4% on an underlying basis due to Gastech, one of the three largest events in the portfolio, successfully transitioning to an annual format having previously been held every eighteen months.
Lastly in relation to our B2B portfolio, we no longer operate an Energy Information division following the successful disposal of Genscape.
Consumer Media revenues grew by an underlying 2% to £672 million, benefitting from relatively favourable conditions in the advertising market. The underlying growth from MailOnline and DailyMailTV more than offset a 1% decrease in print advertising revenues and a 3% decrease in circulation revenues. The Mail brand remains strong, reflected in the large and growing market shares held by the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday of 25.5% and 22.8% respectively. MailOnline continues to focus successfully on attracting traffic directly to its homepage and apps. Metro also delivered a strong performance, following the integration of the advertising operations of the Metro and Mail in April 2018, with underlying revenue growth of 11% in the year.
Overall, DMGT has made further good progress against its strategic priorities in the year, with the distribution of our stake in Euromoney and special dividend a defining moment for the Group. We have a strong balance sheet and are now focused on the next phase of the Group’s transformation, optimising our businesses through targeted and disciplined investment.