This growth was driven by our Strategic Marketing segment, which delivered growth of 11% on an organic basis along with acquisitive growth of 19%. Revenue within our Books Segment was 3% ahead of the prior year. These performances were partially offset by a 7% decline in our Marketing Activation segment, due to continued pressure within the grocery retail sector.
The Group’s statutory loss before tax of £5.7 million (2015 – profit of £8.7 million) includes Adjusting Items of £36.1 million, of which £12.7 million relates to a non-cash impairment charge in the Marketing Activation segment. The Group’s Adjusted profit before tax declined to £30.4 million (2015 – £33.0 million) and Adjusted basic earnings per share decreased by 13% to 17.61 pence (2015 – 20.32 pence).
This year saw further growth in our Strategic Marketing segment, which contributed 58% (2015 – 46%) of the Group’s Adjusted operating profit, offset by decline within our Marketing Activation and Books segments. Towards the end of the year, as previously announced, we experienced the cancellation and deferral of a number of large contracts within our Strategic Marketing segment, reflecting greater caution within our customer base over the allocation of budgets.
Whilst we can confirm that this was a short-term challenge and that we have made encouraging progress in replacing those revenues, this nonetheless materially impacted the outturn for the year. The Board is recommending a final dividend of 5.45 pence, making a full year dividend of 7.80 pence (2015 – 7.80 pence), reflecting the Board’s confidence in the Group’s ability to make further strategic and financial progress during the year ahead.
We are confident in our strategy for further growth, which remains centered around three key priorities:
Once again, we have made strategic progress in all three areas.
Matt Armitage, CEO