Source - Alliance News

S4 Capital PLC on Monday once again cut guidance, as the advertising agency struggled with ‘slower than expected trading over the summer months’.

Shares in the company slumped 25% to 71.48 pence each in London on Monday morning.

It is the second time in two months that S4 has warned on its net revenue performance. The company did, however, announce it will consider a final dividend to reflect its ‘confidence’ going forward.

In the six months to June 30, S4 Capital’s revenue rose 16% on-year to £517.1 million from £446.4 million. Net revenue, which excludes direct costs, increased 19% to £445.5 million from £375.3 million.

S4’s pretax loss narrowed to £23.2 million from £85.6 million.

‘We had a very mixed first half of the year reflecting challenging global macroeconomic conditions and consequent fears of recession, which resulted in client caution to commit and extended sales cycles, particularly for larger projects,’ Executive Chair Martin Sorrell said.

‘We expect the year as usual to be weighted to the second half, especially Q4 - stimulated, in particular, by increased seasonal levels of clients’ activity and our Artificial Intelligence initiatives and the use cases we are developing with our clients. We remain confident our talent, business model, strategy and scaled client relationships position us well for above average growth in the longer term, with a new emphasis on deploying free cash flow to dividends and share buybacks.’

Looking ahead, S4 Capital now expects like-for-like net revenue to decline in 2023, and an operational earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation margin between 12% and 13.5%.

Back in July, S4 Capital said it was now targeting full-year like-for-like net revenue growth in a range of 2% to 4%, as opposed to 6% to 10% previously, and operational Ebitda margin of 14.5% to 15.5%, compared to a previously guided 15% to 16%.

‘Over the longer term we continue to expect our growth to outperform our markets and operational Ebitda margins to return to historic levels of 20%+,’ it added on Monday.

S4 said it will consider a dividend of 1p per share with its final results, ‘reflecting its confidence in the strategy for the group and that we expect to be cash generative in 2024 with no material combination payments’.

Copyright 2023 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account. AJ Bell logo

Related Charts

S4 Capital PLC (SFOR)

-2.05p (-3.73%)
delayed 15:32PM