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Centaur releases financial results

Centaur Media, provider of market intelligence, learning and specialist consultancy has released its interim results for the 6 months ended 30 June 2022.

Centaur releases financial results
Swag Mukerji: "This has been a good six months for Centaur as we continue to make strategic progress in line with our Margin Acceleration Plan MAP23.” Photograph: Billy Huynh on Unsplash.

Centaur Media have reported strong revenue and EBITDA growth across Xeim and The Lawyer, with the publishers four flagship brands driving growth and representing more than two thirds of overall revenues.

The results, as reported by Centaur Media, are detailed below:

  • Revenue grew 8% to £19.8m, with revenue growth across both Xeim (up by 9% to £16.1m) and The Lawyer (up by 6% to £3.7m)
  • Flagship 4 brands represent 68% and higher quality revenue streams represent 78% of Group revenue
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased to £3.4m (H1 2021: £2.2m), an adjusted EBITDA margin of 17% (2021: 12%), with operational gearing from revenue growth and tight cost controls
  • Encouraging progress towards MAP23 targets of 23% adjusted EBITDA margin and more than £45m revenue by the end of 2023
  • Interim dividend of 0.5 pence per share (H1 2021: 0.5 pence)
  • Cash conversion of 125% has led to an enhanced net cash position of £14.2m (H1 2021: £11.9m) which together with a £10m undrawn RCF leaves Centaur well positioned to invest in its Flagship 4 brands and manage macroeconomic uncertainty

Over the first six months of 2022, Centaur has built on the good momentum of 2021. Revenue, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin all continued to show growth, as does the Group's retained earnings.

First half reported revenue was up 8% to £19.8m (H1 2021: £18.3m), with combined growth of 11% from the Flagship 4 brands of Econsultancy, Influencer Intelligence and MW Mini MBA (all three of which are in the Xeim business unit) and The Lawyer. In line with Centaur's strategy, the higher quality revenue streams of premium content, marketing services and training and advisory now represent 78% of Group revenue. Our revenues are resilient because our clients are choosing us for strategic, long-term spend, in order to future-proof their businesses. Structured customer price rises have been implemented to help mitigate the inflationary environment.

Adjusted EBITDA increased by 55% to £3.4m (H1 2021: £2.2m), as a result of revenue growth and continued tight cost controls, delivering an adjusted EBITDA margin increase to 17% (H1 2021: 12%).

The improvement in EBITDA illustrates the operational gearing inherent within Centaur's business model. This underpins management's belief that 23% adjusted EBITDA margins can be achieved through an increase in higher margin revenues and continued management of costs, in line with MAP23.

Centaur continues to maintain a heathy net cash balance of £14.2m. Cost controls have been maintained through clear operational and financial steps taken to reinforce the resilience of the business, such as strong negotiation with suppliers and flexible reward structures to retain and recruit top talent. This will ensure that the business is best positioned to withstand any wider macroeconomic uncertainty.

The increase in adjusted EBITDA has resulted in an adjusted operating profit of £1.9m (H1 2021: £0.5m). The Group reported profit after taxation of £0.7m which is an improvement from last year's loss of £0.4m.

Strategic and operational highlights

In January 2021, Centaur updated its Margin Acceleration Plan ("MAP23") with the aim of raising adjusted EBITDA margin to 23% and increasing revenue to more than £45m by 2023. Since then, Centaur has focused investment and resource allocation on its Flagship 4 brands, which it considers to be the key drivers of organic growth.

Over the past six months, revenues from the Flagship 4 grew by 11% to £13.5m, which now equates to 68% of total Group revenue:

  • Econsultancy benefited from continued strong demand for digital training, supported by the Xeim Engage team creating solutions for the Top 200 companies by marketing spend;
  • Influencer Intelligence saw good renewal rates in H1 2022 of 86% (2021 full year: 84%) with an upward trend in new business during H1 2022 and has acquired the first customers for its new consultancy offering;
  • MW Mini MBA saw continued growth, with revenue up 16% vs H1 2021 with a focus on sales to repeat corporate customers; and
  • The Lawyer delivered double digit growth in the value of its subscription renewals, assisted by its premium product Signal recording a strong first year of renewals. H1 also saw the launch of the Briefing Room, a digital platform for law firms to connect with the in-house legal community, and the expansion of the Litigation Tracker's international coverage.

Centaur has also seen growth across its suite of Core Brands including an 81% growth in Oystercatchers revenue from an increase in blue-chip customer contracts.

Going forward, Centaur's aim is to position both its Flagship 4 and Core Brands for further growth, broadening its cross-selling opportunities and enhancing shared capabilities.

Dividend

Centaur's Board has announced an interim dividend for 2022 of 0.5p per share (H1 2021: 0.5p). This is in line with Centaur's dividend policy that aims to distribute 40% of adjusted earnings after taxation, subject to a minimum aggregate total of 1p per share per year.

Outlook

Centaur has met the Board's expectations for revenue, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted1 EBITDA margin growth over the course of the first half of 2022. It is also trading in line with the Board's expectations for the second half of the year, which historically has a greater weighting of revenue and profit than the first half and will also include the highly successful The Lawyer Awards in July.

Despite macroeconomic headwinds and an uncertain outlook, the Board remains confident in the successful delivery of Centaur's MAP23 revenue and EBITDA margin objectives. Centaur will continue to invest in improving the quality of its offerings across the Flagship 4, while the Group's balance sheet strength will allow for adaptability and investment in future organic growth opportunities.

Swag Mukerji, chief executive officer, commented: "This has been a good six months for Centaur as we continue to make strategic progress in line with our Margin Acceleration Plan MAP23 and it is encouraging to see further growth in revenue, EBITDA and EBITDA margin.

“We are positioning Centaur to deliver targeted connectivity with timely and deeper insight and are developing our learning and consultancy expertise in a market consistently characterised by change. These underlying trends and our focus on the Flagship 4 are driving our revenue and give us a platform for growth. Meanwhile, our resilient revenue streams and balance sheet strength will ensure that Centaur is well positioned to withstand any wider macroeconomic uncertainty."

A link to the full report can be found here.