Future PLC looks bright and eyes higher profits from digital advertising


Future PLC (LON:FUTR) is liking the look of the present.

The media group, whose 160-plus magazines and websites include FourFourTwo, Country Life, Total Film, Marie Claire, Music Radar and Practical Caravan and which earlier this year paid GBP594mln to snap up price comparison website GoCompare, said it now expects full-year numbers to be materially ahead of market expectations after a strong performance in the second half so far.

READ: Future shock – the path from a tiny computer games publisher to an ecommerce giant

The FTSE 250 group’s media division has benefited from robust digital advertising revenue and Amazon Prime Day in June, while the magazine business is performing in line with expectations.

The integration of the GoCo Group is on track to produce the promised GBP15mln synergies and directors noted that cash generation has been strong, with continued deleveraging of the balance sheet.

Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne said: “We are delighted that the group’s strong performance has continued throughout the period, which is testament to the strength of our diversified revenue streams and global reach.”

Analyst William Ryder at Hargreaves Lansdown, said everything appeared to be going to plan at the group.

He said: “Investors may be wondering whether a bigger dividend will be on the cards after such a strong year. This shouldn’t be ruled out, especially with the group talking up cash generation and synergies from the GoCo acquisition. However, the acquisition focussed growth strategy will still demand more investment, so any additional shareholder returns will likely be modest.”

Broker Peel Hunt said it was increasing its full-year earnings per share forecast 9% and its share price target to 3,600p from 3,300p.

“Future continues to benefit from digital trends. There is also the potential of revenue synergies in the near term from GoCo as the company completes the integration.”


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