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Future plc Strategic momentum continues

Future plc (LON:FUTR), the global platform for specialist media, today published results for the six months ended 31 March 2020. 

Highlights

Financial results for the six months ended 31 March 2020

Adjusted results20202019Var
Adjusted operating profit (£m)139.922.677%
Adjusted operating profit margin (%)28%21%+7ppt
Adjusted free cash flows (£m)240.027.545%
Adjusted diluted EPS (p)32.920.560%
    
Statutory results   
Revenue (£m)144.3108.733%
Operating profit (£m)24.710.0147%
Profit before tax (£m)27.18.9204%
Cash generated from operations (£m)35.726.734%
Diluted EPS (p)21.88.7151%

●     The Group has had an exceptionally strong first half with adjusted operating profit up 77% to £39.9m (2019: £22.6m)

●     Covid-19 impacted the end of the period, driving an acceleration of audience growth which with our diversified revenue strategy helped to offset the impact of a significant slowdown in newstrade as travel stores shut and the cancellation of three large events in March

●     Online users have grown to 253m in H1 (2019: 201m), up 26% year-on-year, 31% organic[i] 3 growth. The global lockdowns have resulted in audiences around the world searching for advice and recommendations resulting in the Group achieving a record-breaking 329m online users in March 2020, up 66% year-on-yeari

●     Overall organic revenue growth totalled 11% due to continued momentum in Media revenues with organic growth of 21%

●     Improved quality of earnings resulting from the growth in scale of the Group and revenue mix is reflected in the strong operating leverage with adjusted operating profit margin increasing to 28% (2019: 21%)

●     The Group remains highly cash generative with strong adjusted free cash flow2 of £40.0m (2019: £27.5m), which represents 100% of adjusted operating profit (2019: 122%). To date the Group has not seen any significant negative Covid-19 impact on working capital

●     Acquisition of TI Media completed on 20 April 2020 with integration underway. TI Media’s performance has been impacted by the reduction in magazine sales since March, although the strategic rationale to implement Future’s strategy across the TI brands and audience remains compelling

●     Future’s well diversified revenue model and strong balance sheet, which included current headroom of around £77m on existing banking facilities, leaves the Group well positioned to continue to adapt to market conditions in these times of unparalleled uncertainty

Zillah Byng-Thorne, Future plc’s Chief Executive, said:

“We sincerely thank those who have been working to keep all of us safe through the crisis, particularly those in all aspects of frontline services. I also want to recognise and thank our staff, who have rapidly adapted to a new way of working to ensure we can continue to provide high quality content to our audience communities at a time when the need for expert advice is acute.

“We are seeing a rapid acceleration in the migration to online with a significant growth in online users looking for both entertainment and advice in their areas of interest as well as a rapid shift towards online retail. Future’s diversified business model, global footprint and strong financial discipline means that we have been able to withstand the immediate challenges of the pandemic.

“Despite the impact of Covid-19, the first half of the financial year has been very strong with adjusted operating profit up 77% and adjusted free cashflows of 100%2 of operating profit. This allows us to continue to invest in the platform through the development of new functionality and new content to drive revenue in the coming months and years. 

“The acquisition of TI Media, completed in April, introduces many opportunities for us to add value to their strong portfolio of brands by utilising our technology platform to build digital presence, introduce new revenue models and an opportunity to expand reach beyond the UK, particularly in the US. It also introduces new content categories and audiences to the Group whose needs we look forward to meeting in the coming years.

“Our performance in the first half of the current year has been extremely strong; the downturn due to Covid-19 makes market conditions uncertain for the remainder of the year. However, due to our operating model, strategy and diversified revenue streams, the Group is well placed to navigate the challenges ahead.”

1) Adjusted operating profit represents earnings before share-based payments (relating to equity settled awards with vesting periods longer than 12 months) and related social security costs, interest, tax, amortisation of acquired intangible assets, fair value movements on contingent consideration (and unwinding of associated discount) and currency option, and exceptional items and any related tax effects.

2) Adjusted free cash flow is defined as adjusted operating cash inflow less capital expenditure. Adjusted operating cash inflow represents operating cash inflow adjusted to exclude cash flows relating to exceptional items and settlement of employer’s NI on share based payments, and to include lease repayments following adoption of IFRS 16 Leases.

3) Organic growth defined as the like for like portfolio excluding acquisitions and disposals made during FY19 and FY20 at constant FX rates.

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