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Centaur releases trading update and full-year outlook

Centaur Media today announced an update on trading up to the period ended 30 September 2020. The Company is also providing its outlook for the year to 31 December 2020.

Centaur releases trading update and full-year outlook
Swag Mukerji: “We are confident that we will emerge from 2020 a more resilient and agile business.”

According to Centaur Media:

Trading update

Despite the severe impact of COVID-19, the Group’s overall performance has been resilient. Excluding the telemarketing activities of MarketMakers which closed in August 2020, revenue in the third quarter was 16% down on the same period in 2019 (compared to down 24% in Q2) and the Group ended the quarter with a strong cash balance of £9.3m at 30 September 2020. This performance reflects decisive action taken following the onset of the pandemic to protect the Group’s brands, conserve cash and adapt to the new environment.

2020 full-year outlook

The Board expects to report full-year revenues from continuing operations of at least £32m with an adjusted2 EBITDA margin of c.10%, which includes an improved H2 margin compared to H1 2020.

Xeim, our business serving the marketing sector, is expected to report a year-on-year underlying revenue decline of 15%, excluding MarketMakers. The Lawyer is expected to report year-on-year underlying revenue decline of 22%.

Across both business units, the decline in revenues reflects the loss of event delegates and recruitment advertising sales due to the pandemic. However, in most cases, premium content revenues continue to increase with some recovery of subscription rates being experienced in the second half of the year. Of note, the Marketing Week Mini-MBA has continued to perform well with strong demand across its product offering; The Festival of Marketing, which ran as an online event this year, attracted over 2,700 delegates; and The Lawyer is anticipated to achieve a full-year renewal rate of 105%, demonstrating the continued value national and international law firms place in The Lawyer.

Financial

The full-year results will include a further exceptional charge of £0.6m in addition to the £0.6m of staff restructuring costs announced at the half year. Of the total £1.2m exceptional charge, £1.1m relates to the closure of MarketMakers and £0.9m had been paid by the end of Q3.

The Group has maintained prudent financial management, ensuring good cash collection and a reduction in debtor days. The current cash balance is at the same level as at the start of the year and £0.9m higher than the half year. This is despite paying out exceptional items of £3.4m relating to 2019 and £0.9m for the current year. As reported at the half year, the Group has also renegotiated its bank facility to provide up to £10m of borrowings with waived covenant tests to 30 September 2021.

The Board plans on providing guidance to analysts for 2021 along with a full-year trading update in January 2021.

Swag Mukerji, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am pleased that Centaur has remained resilient. Mini-MBA continues to grow very strongly, the Festival of Marketing successfully transitioned to an online format, and The Lawyer maintained strong renewals and increased its revenues from premium content. Although market conditions remain uncertain, Centaur has a strong cash position and a strengthening EBITDA margin, and we are confident that we will emerge from 2020 a more resilient and agile business. I would like to thank our amazing customers and staff and our patient shareholders for their support in these difficult times.”