Home Coronavirus Updates Centaur remains resilient despite posting 18% revenue drop

Centaur remains resilient despite posting 18% revenue drop

by Paul Colston

International event organiser and business intelligence and training provider Centaur Media, 17 March, announced its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2020.

The group’s result show resilience despite revenues down 18% to £32.4m (US$45m) (2019: £39.6m) due to the significant impact of Covid.

There was international revenue growth and adjusted EBITDA only decreased by £0.2m, benefiting from 24% reduction in operating costs.

The company posted net cash of £8.3m at year end and forecast increasing revenues to more than £45m by 2023.

The financial statements showed a non-cash goodwill impairment of £11m in the year relating to the closure of telemarketing operation MarketMakers. In 2017, then Centaur CEO Andria Vidler had described the acquisition of MarketMakers as “a milestone in Centaur’s’ continuing transformation of into a pure B2B focussed business”.

Centaur’s statement acknowledged that Covid had had a significant impact on the business during 2020, but added that trading had gradually improve over the second half of the year in line with expectations. This trend is continuing into Q1 2021.

“Rapid management action ensured that we quickly adapted to the pandemic with the transfer of key revenue streams online, combined with tight cost and cash control. This enabled us to protect profits through growing EBITDA margins ahead of target and maintaining a strong balance sheet, to end the year with net cash of £8.3m,” the statement said.

Despite the impact of the pandemic, which resulted in a revenue decline of 18% for the year, improvements in performance in the second half provided management with sufficient confidence to update the Group’s strategy.

Over the past five years Centaur said it had produced a higher value revenue mix with premium content, marketing services and training and advisory increasing to 76% (2016: 36%) and revenue from events, marketing solutions and recruitment advertising reducing to 24% (2016: 64%). Revenue from outside the UK had also increased to 31% (2019: 24%) with a lift of 4% to £10m as Centaur extended its international reach.

In January 2021 Centaur updated its Margin Acceleration Plan with the aim of raising Adjusted EBITDA margins to 23% and increasing revenue to more than £45m by 2023 (MAP23).

“To support MAP23, we will focus investment and resource allocation on our Flagship 4 brands – Econsultancy, Influencer Intelligence, Mini MBA and The Lawyer – which we consider to be Centaur’s key drivers of organic revenue growth. They will be supported by marketing division Xeim’s wider portfolio of Core Brands,” the company statement said. 

Training and events had been moved fast to an online format, Centaur added, allowing it to maintain customer relationships and the provision of services throughout the year.

Centaur said its trading for the first two months of 2021 is in line with the Board’s expectations and cash at the end of February 2021 was £8.2m.

A final dividend of 0.5p per share for the 2020 financial year was proposed by the Board.

Swag Mukerji, chief executive officer (pictured) commented: “Whilst Covid had a significant impact on Centaur, I am pleased with how the group performed during a year of unprecedented uncertainty and disruption. We acted quickly and decisively to adapt our business and ensure we could continue to serve our customers during a uniquely challenging period. This has only been possible due to the hard work and unwavering dedication of our people and I would like to express my sincere thanks to them.

“Despite the challenges presented to us in 2020 and the inevitable uncertainties that will arise from the Covid pandemic over the next few months, I am encouraged by the continued recovery in trading and am confident in our MAP23 plan. The targets are ambitious and achievable, with our robust balance sheet and Flagship 4 brands leaving us well-placed to capitalise on future opportunities. We will continue to focus on providing cutting-edge insight, training and analysis, building strong and lasting relationships with our customers and delivering long-term sustainable returns to our shareholders as we emerge from the pandemic.”

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