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Future to return £45m to investors, shares soar

By Abigail Townsend

Date: Thursday 16 May 2024

Future to return £45m to investors, shares soar

(Sharecast News) - Future unveiled plans to return a further £45m to shareholders on Thursday, sending the shares higher, despite a fall in half-year revenues and profits.
The UK media group said the share buyback programme would get underway "shortly" and would add to the £45m already returned through buybacks and dividends in the last six months.

The news was welcomed by investors and by 0930 BST, the FTSE 250 stock was trading 19% higher at 1,034p.

The update came as the publisher of Homes & Gardens, The Week, Country Life and PC Pro, among others, posted first-half numbers.

The group, which also owns the Go Compare price comparison site, said revenues in the six months to 31 March fell 3% to £391.5m, with a 2% organic decline compounded by an adverse currency fluctuations.

However, Future said it had returned to year-on-year revenue growth in the second quarter, with organic growth of 3%.

Adjusted operating profits fell 19% to £105.8m, impacted by the adverse revenue mix and investments. Statutory operating profits slid 24% to £63.7m.

Jon Steinberg, chief executive, said: "Overall trading was in line with our expectations. While the market environment remains challenging, we are encouraged to returned to organic revenue growth in the second quarter, progress which has continued into the third quarter."

Looking to the full year, Future said it was confident about meeting its full-year outlook, including organic revenue growth in the second half and a full-year adjusted operating margin of around 28%.

Last December, shares in Future plunged after the firm posted a slump in annual profits. The firm said it been hit by "challenging" market dynamics in the US.

Steinberg, who has been in the role a just over a year, said: "In December we set out plans to ensure that Future is best positioned to capitalise on opportunities in our markets. This plans are centred on growing a highly-engaged audience, diversifying and increasing revenue per user.

"I'm pleased to report that in the early stages of this two-year plan we have made good progress, which will enable us to drive accelerating revenue growth."

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