A solid performance by its publishing division, particularly in the U.S., and the February acquisition of Marshall Editions combined to increase sales 5.5%, to £31.8 million ($48.6 million), for the six-month period ended June 30 at Quarto Group. Profits jumped 71% to £1.1 million ($1.7 million).

Revenues in the publishing group rose 15.3%, to £16.8 million, with Quarto reporting that most of its U.S. businesses performed ahead of target. The group has been helped by an improvement in the art publishing segment, and Quarto's art publishing operations broke even in the first six months of the year. In the U.K., the publishing division performed "dramatically better" than in the first half of 2001, the company said.

Sales in Quarto's co-edition business dipped from £15.6 million in last year's first half to £15.0 million in 2002. The company attributed the decline to timing issues associated with the shipment of major orders and noted that new orders for the year are ahead of 2001.

Quarto chairman Laurence Orbach said he was pleased that the first-half results were in line with expectations, adding, "Prospects for the balance of the year look solid."