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Future publishes half year results

Future plc has today published its results for the half year ended 31 March 2022.

Future publishes half year results
Zillah Byng-Thorne: “Our strategy is underpinned by our diversified revenues, our global reach and the platform effect we generate.”

As reported by Future plc:

Financial highlights

  • H1 revenue up 48% to £404.3m (HY 2021: £272.6m), reflecting a combination of continued organic growth and contribution from acquisitions, with organic growth of 4% in the half, and average of the two half-years of 13%. Media organic growth was 5% in the half, a pleasing performance given the prior year benefit from COVID (up 18% on average for the two half-years) driven by a strong digital advertising organic growth of 10%.
  • Excellent H1 results with adjusted operating profit up 51% to £134.5m (HY 2021: £89.2m), and statutory operating profit up 48% to £88.4m (HY 2021: £59.7m).
  • Future’s platform effect continues to deliver, with an improvement in adjusted operating profit margin to 33%, an expansion of 1% over full year FY 2021 of 32% (HY 2021: 33%) absorbing the material inflationary pressures in H1 2022 and initial dilutive impact of acquisitions.
  • The Group remains highly cash generative with adjusted free cash flow of £137.8m (HY 2021: £93.9m), representing 102% of adjusted operating profit (HY 2021: 105%). Cash generated from operations was £138.1m (HY 2021: £85.9m).
  • Leverage of 1.46x (FY 2021: 0.8x and down from 1.9x following the Dennis acquisition on 1 October). This reflects continued rapid de-levering, resulting in net debt at the end of the half year of £388.7m (FY 2021: £176.3m). In May 2022, we extended our RCF facilities by £100m, with total facilities of £690m.

Operational and strategic highlights

  • Driving organic revenue growth through expansion of audience in existing and new content verticals. Our leadership position means that we are able to deliver premium monetisation and growth, despite organic online audience declines of 10% largely due to Covid comparators and demonstrating the resilience of the model through economic cycles. Highlights in the first half include:
    • US audience reach increased by 2ppt year-on-year to 35% (HY 2021: 33%), on track to achieve our aim of reaching 1 in 2 in the US in the mid term.
    • Future’s consumer technology portfolio is the market leader in the US and UK (source: ComsCore).
    • Future’s newest high growth verticals have shown positive momentum, notably in our US reach (source: ComsCore):
      • Women’s Beauty & Fashion portfolio is gaining momentum with MarieClaire featuring in the top 10 in the US and Canada.
      • Homes is now inside the top ten websites in the category, up from #19 in March 2021.
    • Strategic traction in our latest content vertical Wealth & Savings with the addition of acquired brands including Kiplinger and The Money Week and the fast growth of The Money Edit, our organic launch.
  • Creating value from acquisitions with 4 acquisitions announced since October 2021, adding capability in data, video and subscribers, while helping to enable leadership positions in Women's Lifestyle and Wealth content. We have allocated over £400m of capital while remaining disciplined in approach to leverage.
  • Our Future, Our Responsibility - our ESG strategy - was launched in December 2021 and we are making good progress against our ambition.

Outlook

  • A modest upgrade to our FY 2022 guidance, which reflects:
    • Ongoing resilience of the underlying business, despite the inflationary backdrop with the Group on track to deliver year-on-year margin progression as previously anticipated
    • A return to positive audience momentum in H2
    • Benefit of the recent acquisition of WhoWhatWear
  • Longer-term, we are confident that our diversified strategy will continue to deliver significant value for shareholders, with our investment in new content verticals and capabilities underpinning our growth ambitions.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, Future's Chief Executive, said: “Our strategy is underpinned by our diversified revenues, our global reach and the platform effect we generate. Through the continued execution of our strategy, we have delivered robust year-on-year growth despite an inflationary environment and prior year comparators enhanced by the impact of COVID-19.

“The strength of our specialist, trusted content continues to attract a high value audience, making us a partner of choice for advertisers. Our newest verticals, including Homes, Women’s Beauty & Fashion, and Wealth & Savings have performed well and generated strong brand awareness. Furthermore, our US-first mindset continues to bear fruit, and we see vast growth potential as we aim to reach 1 in 2 users online in the US.

“In what has been a busy period, we were delighted to acquire and complete the integration of Dennis, and to acquire WhatCulture.com and Waive, which add incremental value. We also look forward to bringing our latest acquisition, WhoWhatWear, into the Group, which enhances our leadership position in the Women’s vertical.

“We are pleased to be on track to deliver another strong full-year of profitable growth despite the wider macroeconomic outlook. Looking ahead, we enter H2 with positive momentum and growing audience numbers, which further underpins our confidence for the remainder of FY 2022.”

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