Despite rumors circulating about a sale of the book division, Chrysalis Group was in a bullish mood as it announced improved six-month figures for the media group. Total sales inched up to £84.6 million ($150 million) and earnings jumped.

Within the book group, CEO Marcus Leaver pointed out the £900,000 ($1.6 million) cut in operating loss for the period ending March 31. Both he and chief executive Richard Huntingford strenuously denied that the book division was up for sale.

Although book group sales fell 16%, to £12.5 million ($22 million), Leaver stressed that the company was in the midst of a turnaround. He said that he had been able "to put the foundations in place for a successful and profitable publishing house with a new structure, which is much stronger."

Two senior appointments were announced at the book division. Roger Huggins has been promoted to board level from within the group; he was previously publisher of Batsford and is now group director of publishing. Polly Powell has joined the company as publishing director of the trade division.