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Future warns of 'challenging' market conditions, shares tumble

By Abigail Townsend

Date: Thursday 18 May 2023

Future warns of 'challenging' market conditions, shares tumble

(Sharecast News) - Shares in Future tumbled on Thursday after the media group lowered its full-year expectations on the back of 'challenging' market conditions.
The publisher - whose brands include Country Life, Marie Claire, Music Week and GoCompare, among others - said revenues in the six months to 31 March were £404.7m, largely unchanged year-on-year on a reported basis but down 10% organically.

Within that, media revenues, which include advertising, tumbled 12% to £265.5m, while magazine revenues were 5% lower at £139.2m.

Group adjusted operating profits eased 3% to £130.3m.

Looking to the rest of the year, Future said the trends it had seen in the first half were likely to continue into the second, "with challenging market conditions impacting audience".

As a result, it now expects its full-year performance to be "towards the bottom end" of market expectations. Consensus is currently for adjusted full-year operating profits of between £255m and £277m.

As at 1000 BST, shares in Future had tumbled 15% to 890.5p.

Chief executive Jon Steinberg, who joined in April, said: "The macroeconomic environment remains tough, but we are well-positioned to continue to outperform the industry. Our investment in new strategic verticals, coupled with the group's the stack and operating model, will create long-term value for our stakeholders."

Steinberg is an American digital entrepreneur and a former BuzzFeed and Daily Mail executive. Future generates around 60% of revenues in the UK and the rest in the US.

Peel Hunt, which has a 'buy' rating on the stock, said: "While we continue to believe the Future model is strong, audience trends, currently a headwind, can be unpredictable, and until we see a sustained change in trend there is no guarantee we are the bottom of the downgrade cycle."


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