E-commerce play THG (THG), also known as The Hut Group, fell 4% as it revealed a wider first half loss, currency headwinds and unveiled plans to spin off its beauty division.

The company posted a pre-tax loss of £81.3 million for the six months to 30 June, compared with a loss of £49.8 million for the same period in 2020.

The higher losses came despite a 41.9% surge in group revenue to £958.8 million and reflected increased distribution costs associated with Covid-19 and fees linked to M&A activity.

The company also signalled that it expected full year revenue growth to be in line with expectations on a constant currency basis at 38% to 41% (although 35% to 38% on a reported basis).

Cosmetic website division THG Beauty’s revenue increased 55.9% to £460.8 million while nutrition site operator THG Nutrition boosted its revenue by 27.3% to £328.4 million.

THG Ingenuity, the group’s logistics and technology platform, posted revenue up 39.7% to £85.8 million. THG OnDemand, which offers on-demand production facilities, saw revenue advance from £35.4 million to £51.6 million.

BREAKING UP THE BUSINESS

The Ingenuity arm, which has been key to driving investor interest in the stock since it listed in 2020, continued to win new third-party clients and progressed its collaboration with Japanese technology investor Softbank after the latter was granted an option to put $1.6 billion into the platform on top of a capital raise of around $1 billion in May 2021.

The company is planning a separate listing for the THG Beauty in 2022 and is also mulling a break up of the remaining bits of the business too.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould commented: ‘A corporate divorce looks to be on the cards at e-commerce firm THG but rather than expensive or messy, the company will be looking for this break up to generate a windfall in the form of enhanced valuations for its individual businesses.

‘Ingenuity remains a jam tomorrow opportunity though. It is generating decent levels of growth but as today’s first half results show it represents less than 10% of group revenue. An investor day next month to highlight the potential of the platform will be closely scrutinised.’

THG’s capital markets day to highlight the potential of Ingenuity is being held on 12 October.

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Issue Date: 16 Sep 2021