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Centaur publishes preliminary results

Centaur Media has published its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2019.

Centaur publishes preliminary results
Swag Mukerji: “Centaur has made good progress since completing its disposal programme last July.”

According to Centaur Media:

Financial Highlights

  • Completion of disposal programme gave a profit on disposal of £7.8m and has created a simpler business with two divisions, Xeim focused on the marketing profession and The Lawyer focused on the legal profession
  • Revenues fell 3% to £48.9m as management exited loss-making activities within Xeim
  • Adjusted EBITDA grew by 24% at Xeim and 16% at The Lawyer
  • Annualised reduction of £5m of overhead costs run-rate achieved on schedule
  • Group adjusted EBITDA (pre-IFRS 16) increased to £2.6m (2018: £1.4m)
  • Proposing a final dividend of 0.5p per share in accordance with new dividend policy
  • Net cash of £9.3m at 31 December 2019

The markets remain challenging as the impact of coronavirus on our clients and our business remains uncertain. Centaur is continuously evaluating its risks as the situation develops and is developing mitigating contingency plans to secure the business. Notwithstanding this, Centaur will endeavour to achieve its target of a double-digit Adjusted EBITDA margin in 2020 as it pushes ahead with its Margin Acceleration Plan to increase EBITD margins to at least 20% by 2022.

During the year, Centaur successfully sold its businesses in engineering, financial services, human resources and travel and meetings for gross proceeds of £21.75m. The completion of the disposal programme in July 2019 created a simpler, more focused Group with two businesses, Xeim in marketing services and The Lawyer in the legal sector.

The simplification has made it possible for Centaur to reduce its overhead costs run rate by an annualised £5m, the bulk of the benefit of which will flow through in 2020. An increased focus on profitability and cross-selling at Xeim and the continued growth of The Lawyer has enabled both businesses to improve their adjusted EBITDAs significantly.

Xeim is now managing and cross-selling marketing brands with more effective customer focus. Influencer Intelligence has developed its offering to remain at the forefront of its sector and Marketing Week has added a new brand eLearning course and enhanced its e-commerce capability. The Festival of Marketing attracted 48% more visitors – a new record. Econsultancy subscriptions and MarketMakers continue to face challenges.

The Lawyer continued its strong revenue and profit growth, with a strong performance on premium content revenues, successful launch of the Litigation Tacker and an encouraging debut for the Marketing Leadership Summit.

Centaur is proposing a final dividend payment of 0.5p per share, payable on 29th May 2020. The Board was intending to propose the payment of another special dividend in May 2020 but has decided to defer this decision until there is more visibility around the impact of the coronavirus on the Group’s cash flows. To date, we have deferred two of our larger The Lawyer events from Q2 to Q4 and the Festival of Marketing is expected to continue in October, as planned.

Swag Mukerji, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “The coronavirus impact affects us all and has given rise to considerable uncertainty for the foreseeable future. Centaur has made good progress since completing its disposal programme last July, reducing our central overhead costs run-rate by £5m and improving the profitability of both our marketing and legal businesses, through an improved revenue mix, cross-selling and elimination of duplicate costs.

We will endeavour to keep our MAP22 plan on track, to increase EBITDA margins to at least 20% by 2022, as we focus on profitable growth opportunities. We have a strong balance sheet, supported by a £25m undrawn banking facility, and will continue to monitor our cash position closely as the current uncertainty develops.

Global health concerns apart, Centaur has begun 2020 as a far simpler and more focused Group, with new energy to address the many opportunities we see in our markets.”

Click here to read the full report.