The owner of the Wyndeham Group and pre-media business Rhapsody Media experienced a 4.9% decline in sales to £56.1m (2012: £59m), in the six months to 30 June, while EBITDA rose marginally by 1.1% to £4.4m (2012: £4.3m).

Chairman Mark Scanlon said the sales figures reflected a 5.6% downturn in web offset volumes, which were partially offset by a 1% price increase. Comparative turnover in 2012 had been inflated by Olympic contracts, he said.

Scanlon highlighted the falling demand when the group published its 2012 full year results in April, and as such he said the interim figures are as expected.

He added: “The deterioration in our web volume is lower than market attrition so we are holding up fairly well and we are really pleased with that performance.”

The firm posted profits before tax of £800,000 (2012: £400,000) after exceptional charges of £0.6m and £600,000 of interest charges. Operating profit meanwhile was down slightly year-on-year at £2m (2012: £2.2m).

Net debt was reduced from £30.5m at the same point in 2012, to £27.7m after payment in April this year of the final installment of the deferred £5m from its acquisition of St Ives Web, which was completed in April 2011.

Walsted paid £15m in cash at the time with £5m deferred for payment over two years. Funding was provided by The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Scanlon said that the business was on track to begin paying back the £14.6m owed to Walstead’s founding shareholders, in the second half of the year.

“Our profits are greater in the second half of the year so we would expect to see a greater proportion of debt paid off. Everything is on plan in that regard which we are very happy with,” he added.

Full year EBITDA and net earnings were anticipated to be in line with 2012 results, he added.

Internal direct costs and overheads fell by 7.7% and 9.1% respectively, during H1, while full-time workforce numbers decreased by 8.9% to 1,018.

Among capital expenditure in the six months to 30 June the group invested £300,000 in two mailing lines at Wyndeham Heron in a move to bring its mailing in-house.

Meanwhile the business renewed and extended a number of major print contracts during the period, including Condé Nast, The Economist, The Spectator and The Financial Times.

Scanlon said: “Our contracted customers now represent 73% of net turnover and endow the Group with a stable platform from which we believe we can develop a successful long-term business.

“Our clients are endorsing our high quality work and that we are a reputable producer. Because we have four web offset plants we are able to deliver to a wide footprint, so we can give them what they want, when they want it.”