Future signals strong profit growth from hat-trick of acquisitions and move into e-Commerce and events

Future, the Bath-based media group, has said it is on course for strong profits growth this year.

The group, which has been massively restructured over recent years, said a raft of recent acquisitions had bedded in and now contributing to growth while new moves into eCommerce and events had also paid off. 

In a recent pre-close trading update to the London Stock Exchange, Future said overall trading for the year to September 30 had been positive and it anticipated that results for the full year would be “ahead of the board’s expectations”.

It added: “The group has achieved good growth in operating profitability and has benefitted from strong cash conversion in the period.”

Future titles span technology, games, music, film, photography, creative & design, field sports and science & knowledge and include Techradar, PCGamer.com and T3.

In May Future’s shares price climbed above 200p for the first time since its shares were consolidated at the end of January when it reported that its half-year pre-tax profits increased significantly to £900,000 – against losses over recent years – on group revenues up by 35% to £40.9m. Adjusted operating profit increased by 375% to £3.8m.

Over the past year Future has made three acquisitions:

  • Team Rock for £800,000 – a move which brought titles such as Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog into its portfolio
  • Imagine Publishing for £14.2m, which added 18 periodical magazines and 300 bookazines across the knowledge, history, science, games, tech and creative verticals
  • Centaur Media’s home interest division for £32m, which included the three key brands of Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living and Real Homes.

Future said today its magazine division had benefited from the added scale and operational efficiencies of the Imagine Publishing, Team Rock and Home Interest acquisitions, while its media division was performing well with fast revenue growth, particularly in eCommerce and events.

The integration of Home Interest was progressing well and trading in line with expectations, Future said. Its integration was expected to be fully completed by the end of this calendar year.

Chief executive officer Zillah Byng-Thorne said: “We have delivered growth in both operating profitability and cash conversion, driven by strong revenue growth in eCommerce and events.

“The three acquisitions we have made during this financial year have further strengthened and diversified our revenue streams, as we continue to build a global platform for specialist media with data at its heart.”

Future expects to publish its full-year results for the year to September 30 on November 24.

Future also announced that chairman Peter Allen will step down at its next Annual General Meeting, expected to take place next February.

A process, led by the senior independent director Manjit Wolstenholme, will take place to find his successor.

Peter Allen, who joined the board in August 2011, said: “During that time the company has had to confront a hugely challenging market place and has now come through as a significantly changed business, well positioned to offer value growth to shareholders.

“With the acquisitions over the last 18 months and the executive management leadership from Zillah and [chief financial officer] Penny [Ladkin-Brand], the company is entering a new phase.

“I believe the time has come for a new chair to take over, to ensure stability and continuity during this exciting next phase. I have every confidence that Future will prosper in the coming years.”

Zillah Byng-Thorne added: “On behalf of everyone at Future, I would like to thank Peter for the substantial contribution he has made toward the success of Future during the transformation of the business to a global platform for specialist media.

“His experience and guidance, along with his commitment to the success of Future, has been invaluable. He leaves the business well positioned to deliver further growth and shareholder value.”


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