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The Business Magazine May 2024
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Publisher Future plc sees in-line trading in first-half

The Business Magazine article image for: Publisher Future plc sees in-line trading in first-half

Bath-based Future plc, the publisher of specialist online and print magazines, said trading in its first-half to end-March was in line with its expectations and the group expects to deliver organic revenue growth in the second half.

In the six months, the company, which owns comparison website Go.Compare, reported pre-tax profit of $46.6 million, down from £66.4 million in the first half of fiscal 2023, on revenue of £391.5 million, down from £404.7 million.

READ MORE: Bath publisher Future on-track to meet expectations for full year

But the group returned to year-on-year revenue growth in the second quarter (to March 31 this year) with organic revenue growth of 3%.

Online users had stabilised from the second half of fiscal 2023, the firm added, with growth in technology and gaming verticals. Total online users were 222 million in HY, 2024, exiting the half year with 232 million online users.

Profitability was mainly impacted by an adverse revenue mix and investment from the Growth Acceleration Strategy (announced in December) - a two-year investment programme of between £25 million and £30 million.

"In December we set out plans to ensure that Future is best positioned to capitalise on opportunities in our markets," said Jon Steinberg, Future's CEO.

"These plans are centred on growing a highly engaged audience, diversifying and increasing Revenue Per User and optimising our portfolio. I'm pleased to report that in the early stages of this two-year plan we have made good progress, which will enable us to drive accelerating revenue growth."

Future said it expected to deliver group organic revenue growth in H2 2024 and a full year adjusted operating margin of around 28%.

"Overall trading in the first-half was in line with our expectations," said Steinberg.
"Whilst the market environment remains challenging, we are encouraged by a return to organic revenue growth in Q2, progress which has continued into Q3.

"Our focus for the balance of the year is on continued implementation of the Growth Acceleration Strategy, with a particular focus on optimising the portfolio and accelerating value creation for shareholders."

Shares in the company added nearly 18% in London on Thursday (May 16).


Giles Gwinnett is a writer at The Business Magazine. He has been a journalist for more than 20 years and covered a vast array of topics at a range of media settings - in print and online. After his NCTJ newspaper training, he became a reporter in Hampshire before moving to a news agency in Gloucestershire. In recent years, he has been covering the financial markets along with company news for an investor-focused web portal. His many interests include politics, energy and the environment. He lives in Dorset.

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