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RM provides a glimpse into subdued education market

RM's half yearly numbers have provided an insight into an education market that is tightening its budgets

The current state of uncertainty could not have come at a worse time for those selling into the education market as they gear up for the crucial summer sales period.

The current state of the market is already "subdued" according to RM, which has released its half year numbers showing that some areas of the business were finding it tough.

The comments that accompanied the results from the firm's chief executive David Brooks talked up the state of the business despite the market conditions.

“Trading in the first six months of 2016 has been as expected. We have seen strong growth in RM Results, RM Resources has protected its robust margins despite a modest decline in revenues and RM Education continues to stabilise," he said.

"Despite a subdued UK education market, our balance sheet remains strong and we are confident of meeting expectations for the full year," he added.

The comments about the market come at a time when the government is is a state of flux with a former Education Secretary Michael Gove running for the leadership and the country is starting down the road towards an EU exit.

For RM the six months ended 31 May revenues declined by 1.4% to £76.6m and there was a mixed performance across the business. RM Results did well with a 23.6% improvement in revenues year-on-year to £34.2m but the Resources unit was down 4.4% and Education dropped by 6.4%.

The decision a couple of years ago to exit the PC manufacturing business continues to cause a few ripples in the RM Education business. The other factor that influenced the revenue decline was the end of the government's Building Schools for the Future programme. Efforts are being made to ramp up software and managed services sales.

The RM Resources business, which provides educational resources used in schools, was hit by curriculum changes in primary schools and continuing tightening of education budgets.

A significant contract with English language exam specialist Cambridge Assessment helped buoy the numbers in the RM Results side of operations.

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