As reported by Centaur Media:
- Revenues increased 21% to £39.1m
- Adjusted EBITDA grew 68% to £6.4m with margin growing to 16% in line with MAP23 strategy
- Group statutory profit of £1.4m
- Proposing a final dividend of 0.5p per share
- Net cash of £13.1m at year end, driven by EBITDA growth and cash conversion of 164%
- Revenue from outside UK grew to 37% of total – up from 31% in 2020
In early 2021 Centaur launched its Margin Acceleration Plan (MAP23) with the objective of generating over £45m in revenue and an adjusted EBITDA margin of 23% by 2023. To support MAP23, Centaur has continued to focus investment and resource allocation in its Flagship 4 brands – Econsultancy, Influencer Intelligence, MW Mini MBA and The Lawyer – which it considers the key drivers of organic revenue growth. These are supported by Xeim’s wider portfolio of Core Brands.
Over the course of 2021, despite the continued impact of the Covid pandemic, the Group has performed ahead of consensus and remains on track to deliver on its ambitious MAP23 goals. The year saw a 21% growth in revenue to £39.1m and a sustained improvement in Adjusted EBITDA margin to 16% (2020: 12%), which contributed to the further strengthening of Centaur’s cash position to £13.1m. Xeim and The Lawyer contributed to this result with increased revenues, EBITDA and EBITDA margin.
Market and business knowledge provide an increasingly important competitive advantage in the legal and marketing professions and the past two years have accelerated the already rapid shift to high-quality digital content. In a market characterised by change, Centaur is delivering targeted connectivity together with deeper insight, learning and consultancy expertise.
The objective across Centaur’s portfolio of brands is to position them for continued growth by harnessing cross-selling opportunities, with the ultimate aim of enabling customers to deliver better corporate outcomes through building competitive advantage in their markets.
In 2021 Centaur’s Flagship 4 brands benefitted from optimised pricing, strong renewal rates and a recovery in events. Econsultancy had particular success through providing blended learning solutions and continuing to penetrate the top 200 companies by marketing spend, while Influencer Intelligence overcame challenging market conditions in H1 to achieve H2 renewal rates of 95%. MW Mini MBA had another outstanding year, with record corporate sales for multi-seat packages and delegate numbers up 44%. The Lawyer saw excellent client renewal rates at 116% and launched several new paid-for products.
Meanwhile, Centaur’s Core Brands saw good revenue growth from marketing solutions and successful hybrid events. The performance of the Festival of Marketing was particularly encouraging, with above-target sponsorship and delegate levels for its second consecutive virtual event.
Overall, the value of the content and networking capabilities of Centaur’s brands enabled the business to increase the number, size and quality of its customers. Revenue of £28.8m, representing approximately three-quarters of the Group’s total, came from our valuable Premium Content, Marketing Services and Training and Advisory recurring revenue streams. Centaur has also successfully increased its international footprint, which now comprises 37% of total revenues with two-thirds of the Group’s revenue growth coming from outside the UK.
The excellent performance across the Group in 2021 provides a good platform for further growth in 2022. Centaur will continue to invest in quality across the Flagship 4 and Core Brands to take advantage of the trends in the market and develop the Group’s offering for its customers, increasing the emphasis on cross-selling of products and building on their synergies.
Centaur has started the year well and trading for the first two months of 2022 is in line with the Board’s expectations. Cash at 11 March 2022 was £12.1m.
The business is on track to meet its MAP23 objectives and will aim to achieve this despite the market headwinds of inflation, competition for talent and the current geopolitical backdrop. Centaur will look to manage its margin through structured price rises in relation to its services to customers, strong negotiation with suppliers and flexible reward structures to retain and recruit top talent.
Centaur’s Board is proposing a final dividend of 0.5p per share, a total of 1p per share for the 2021 financial year. This is in line with its dividend policy to distribute 40% of adjusted earnings after taxation, subject to a minimum of 1p per share.
Swag Mukerji, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “After the challenges of 2020, Centaur entered 2021 as a strong and resilient business. We launched our Margin Acceleration Plan – MAP23 – our strategy designed to drive profitable revenue growth, and I am pleased that Centaur has made strong progress in line with these objectives.
Over the course of 2021, it was particularly encouraging to see how the business invested in the quality of the Flagship 4 and Core Brands, positioning them for further growth and enhancing their opportunities to cross-sell. We now have the talent, strategy and financial discipline to realise the opportunities that lie ahead. And none of this would have been possible without the hard work and resilience of our brilliant colleagues, who are playing a pivotal role in making MAP23 a reality.”
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