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COVID-19: update from Centaur

Centaur Media has provided an update on the measures it has taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19: update from Centaur

Centaur Media says:

The primary concern of the Board during this difficult time remains the health and safety of our employees, our customers and our stakeholders. We remain focused on ensuring the financial stability of the business during this period of uncertainty and have undertaken a number of actions to mitigate the financial impact on the Group.

Financial position

Following the completion of its transformation programme in 2019, Centaur has a strong balance sheet with a net cash position of £6.7m as at 3 April 2020 and an undrawn banking facility of £25m, provided by Lloyds Bank plc and National Westminster Bank plc, subject to certain conventional covenants.

While the final impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Centaur’s business remains uncertain, the Board has implemented a series of measures to conserve cash. These include freezing a substantial proportion of marketing costs, halting recruitment, temporarily furloughing employees in line with changes in customer activity, and deferring non-essential capital expenditure. Senior management has also taken the decision to waive their annual pay rises at 1 April.

Centaur has also taken several measures to ensure our products and services continue to support our customers, many of whom are working from home. We have moved many of our face-to-face training sessions online. In addition, several customers who were due to receive face-to-face marketing training have been converted to the April intake of the Mini-MBA. We have also launched a series of webinars on how COVID-19 is impacting marketing, which we expect to assist in generating new business leads. To minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our events business, we have moved two of The Lawyer events from Q2 to Q4. We are currently planning for The Festival of Marketing to go ahead in October, if appropriate to do so. We continue to review and assess our contingency plans.

Centaur’s subscription revenues remain resilient and our digital capabilities allow us to continue to offer many of our services across the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are monitoring the situation closely and remain flexible in adapting to the changing conditions.

AGM

In light of public health advice and the UK Government’s directive limiting gatherings of more than two people, the Board has taken the decision to defer the Company’s AGM until 30 June 2020. Further details of the AGM will be communicated via RNS and through the Notice of AGM which will be sent to shareholders along with the Annual Report in due course.

Dividend

At Centaur’s preliminary results on 18 March 2020, the Board recommended a final dividend of 0.5p per share to be paid on 29 May 2020. Since the payment of the dividend is subject to shareholder approval at the AGM, the deferral of the AGM will necessitate a delay in the payment of the dividend. The Board continues to review its cash position on a regular basis and will determine the timing of the dividend payment accordingly.

Guidance

Despite the Group’s strong financial position, given the unprecedented uncertainly around the impact of COVID-19, it is not possible to assess with certainty the impact this will have on the Group's financial performance for the year. As such, the Company is withdrawing its previous guidance for the year ending 31 December 2020.