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Centaur releases interim results

Centaur, international provider of business intelligence, learning and specialist consultancy has presented its interim results for the 6 months ended 30 June 2023.

Centaur releases interim results
Swag Mukerji: “We are proud to be on track to deliver our MAP23 EBITDA objectives, despite the macroeconomic backdrop and remain encouraged to see the growth in our Flagship 4 brands and Group profitability.”

Centaur Media have reported the successful execution of strategy driving higher quality revenue, with a strong EBITDA performance in line with their Margin Acceleration Plan (MAP23).

The results, as reported by Centaur Media, are detailed below:

The Financial Highlights

  • Revenue reduction of 3% to £19.3m primarily due to macroeconomic related headwinds and fall in non-strategic advertising, recruitment & marketing solutions revenues
  • Flagship 4 represents 74% of Group revenue and grew by 6% including event timing
  • 76% of Group revenue derived from higher quality revenue streams
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased to £3.5m (H1 2022: £3.4m) delivering an adjusted EBITDA margin of 18% (H1 2022: 17%); driven by a focus on profitable revenue, structured price rises and careful cost management offsetting the margin loss from fall in non-strategic revenues
  • Interim ordinary dividend of 0.6 pence per share representing an increase of 20% on the 2022 interim dividend
  • Robust balance sheet with net cash of £8.8m (H1 2022: £14.2m), following £8.0m of ordinary and special dividends paid in the period, together with £10m undrawn RCF
  • Strong cash conversion of 115% due to good cash collection and increase in deferred revenue
  • Centaur remains well positioned to deliver profitable growth alongside continued product investment in business intelligence and learning where we have identified further opportunities to enhance market share and accelerate growth and profits

Strategic and operational highlights

  • Flagship 4 brands and higher quality revenue streams (Premium Content and Training & Advisory) drove profitability over last 6 months
  • Strategic emphasis on building repeat and recurring revenue with improving renewal rates and blue-chip customer base
  • Focus on profitable revenue, structured price rises and careful cost management to reinforce the Group’s resilience and maintain its operational leverage
  • Well placed to generate full year revenue at last year’s level whilst achieving our MAP23 EBITDA objectives to raise EBITDA to over £10m at an adjusted EBITDA margin of at least 23% by the end of 2023

Swag Mukerji, chief executive officer, commented: “We are proud to be on track to deliver our MAP23 EBITDA objectives, despite the macroeconomic backdrop and remain encouraged to see the growth in our Flagship 4 brands and Group profitability.

"We are positioning Centaur to deliver targeted connectivity with timely and deeper insight to customers and we continue to develop our learning and consultancy expertise in a market consistently characterised by change. These underlying trends and our focus on the Flagship 4 are driving improved profitability and give us a solid platform for growth. Meanwhile, our resilient revenue streams and balance sheet strength will ensure that Centaur is well positioned to deliver MAP23 despite any wider macroeconomic uncertainty.”

Financial performance

Over the first six months of 2023, Centaur has continued to drive margin acceleration in challenging market conditions. Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin both continued to show growth, as did the Group’s reported profit for the period.

First half reported revenue was £19.3m down 3% (H1 2022: £19.8m), impacted by the fall in the advertising market and a slowdown in customer decision making creating longer sales pipelines seen across the industry. Nonetheless, the Group achieved combined growth of 6% from the Flagship 4 brands of Econsultancy, MW Mini MBA and Influencer Intelligence (all three of which are in the Xeim business unit) and The Lawyer. This growth in H1 2023 was primarily driven by the benefit of The Lawyer Awards, which took place in June 2023 (vs. being held in July 2022). Without this timing difference, underlying revenue from the Flagship 4 brands was flat year on year.

In line with Centaur’s strategy, the focus on the higher quality revenue streams of Premium Content and Training and Advisory now represent 76% of Group revenue (H1 2022: 70%). These are valuable because they are repeat and recurring revenues that we expect, and have seen to date, to be more resilient to macroeconomic conditions.

Adjusted EBITDA increased by 3% to £3.5m (H1 2022: £3.4m) as a result of the focus on profitable revenue, structured price rises and careful cost management more than offsetting the reduction in margin from lower revenue, delivering an adjusted EBITDA margin increase to 18% (H1 2022: 17%), in line with the board’s expectations.

The resilience of Centaur’s EBITDA illustrates the operational leverage inherent within its business model. This, together with the significantly higher EBITDA margin historically reported in H2 compared to H1, underpins management’s confidence that its EBITDA objectives can be achieved in line with MAP23.

With a small decline in revenue in the period, management has carefully managed the cost base through clear operational and financial steps to reinforce the resilience and efficiency of the business.

We believe that this will ensure that the business is best positioned to withstand any further macroeconomic uncertainty during the remainder of the year.

The increase in adjusted EBITDA together with lower depreciation and amortisation has resulted in an adjusted operating profit of £2.4m (H1 2022: £1.9m). Together with a tax credit of £0.1m, the Group reported profit after taxation is £1.9m, a 171% improvement from last year’s profit to 30 June 2022 of £0.7m.

Centaur had a net cash balance of £8.8m at 30 June, after paying out £8.0m of special and ordinary dividends during the period and strong cash conversion at 115%.

Flagship 4 Performance (Econsultancy, MW Mini MBA, Influencer Intelligence and The Lawyer)

Centaur has continued to increase its profit margin under “MAP23” with the primary aim of achieving its EBITDA objectives. To achieve this, Centaur has focused investment and resource allocation on its Flagship 4 brands, the key drivers of organic growth, particularly through strategic investment in Econsultancy and MW Mini MBA as well as increased marketing spend and is well placed for continued organic revenue growth in the future.

Over the past six months, revenue from the Flagship 4 grew by 6% to £14.2m, which now equates to 74% (H1 2022: 68%) of total Group revenue:

  • Econsultancy - since launching its new multi-touch learning platform in H2 last year, Econsultancy has seen increased renewal rates of 86% in H1 2023 (H1 2022: 73%) and strong demand for digital marketing training. However, longer customer sales cycles resulting from a backdrop of increased macro-economic uncertainty has delayed some of the revenue anticipated in H1 into H2 resulting in a 9% year on year reduction in H1 revenue for the brand;
  • MW Mini MBA - continued growth, with revenue up 7% vs H1 2022. Our focus on sales to repeat corporate customers has embedded the benefit of a significant price increase achieving a yield increase of 15% with only a small decrease in delegate numbers;
  • Influencer Intelligence - satisfactory renewal rates in H1 2023 of 81% (H1 2022: 86%) due to some customers in the retail and fashion sectors tightening budgets with an upward trend in new business during H1 2023, resulting in a book of business and revenue marginally above H1 2022; and
  • The Lawyer - delivered 11% growth in Premium Content due to a strong renewal rate of 105% on its main corporate subscriptions and assisted by its premium product Signal with a renewal rate of 100%. The Lawyer also held a successful Awards event in June (2022: July) – excluding the impact of the timing of this event, underlying revenue increased 1% compared to H1 2022 with the growth in Premium Content offset by lower revenue from legacy advertising related Marketing Solutions and other events.

Centaur has seen lower revenue across its suite of Core Brands primarily due to:

  • a reduction of 36% in Xeim’s legacy advertising related Marketing Solutions revenue impacted by tough economic conditions in the media market;
  • a reduction of 22% in Marketing Services revenue resulting from Really B2B’s lower renewal rates in H2 2022; and
  • the decision to focus on one annual Festival of Marketing event in October 2023 (2022 also included a lower profit hybrid March event).

The negative effects of the above were partially offset by revenue growth of 37% in Oystercatchers – our industry-leading consultancy with expertise in delivering marketing agency search and selection due to an increase in the number of blue-chip customers assessing and pitching their marketing agencies.

Going forward, Centaur’s aim is to continue to position its Flagship 4 for growth, broadening crossselling opportunities and enhancing shared capabilities, with the support of the Core Brands.


Centaur’s board has approved an increased interim ordinary dividend for 2023 of 0.6p per share (H1 2022: 0.5p). This is in line with Centaur’s dividend policy that aims to distribute 40% of adjusted earnings after taxation, subject to a minimum aggregate total of 1p per share per year.


Centaur has met the board’s expectations under its Margin Acceleration Plan of increasing adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin over the course of the first half of 2023. Trading is currently in line with the board’s expectations for the second half of the year, which, in keeping with historical trends, will have a greater weighting of revenue and profit than the first half, primarily due to the Festival of Marketing and higher revenue from MW Mini MBA falling in H2.

Despite the uncertain macroeconomic environment which has driven a broader sector slowdown and a fall in the advertising market, the resilient performance of our higher quality revenues leads us to expect full-year revenue to be flat year on year (2022: £41.6m). The board remains confident in the successful delivery of Centaur's MAP23 EBITDA objectives and execution of the strategy set out three years ago. Centaur will continue to invest in improving the quality of its revenue mix across the Flagship 4, while the Group’s balance sheet strength will allow for adaptability and investment in its future.

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