Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital has posted double digit growth in 2020 despite the COVID pandemic.
Reporting its 2020 numbers overnight, S4 posted a 19.4 per cent growth in organic revenue to £295.2m ($534 million).
The company also posted an operating profit of £8.1m, while profit before income tax was £3.1m. However, on a reported basis, S4 posted a statutory loss of £3.9m due to financial adjustments after taxation.
• Billings £653.4 million, up 43.4% reported, up 19.6% like-for-like*** and pro-forma** billings £768.4 million, up 22.3%.
• Revenue £342.7 million, up 59.3% reported from £215.1 million, like-for-like up 15.2%, pro-forma up 20.1%.
• Gross profit £295.2 million, up 72.3% reported from £171.3 million, like-for-like up 19.4%, pro-forma up 23.7%.
• Operational EBITDA £62.2 million, up 86.1% reported, like-for-like up 18.3%, pro-forma up 30.6%.
• Operating profit £8.1million versus an operating loss of £3.8 million in 2019. Operating profit is after charging £49.9 million of Adjusting Items relating to acquisitions, amortisation and share based payments (including £7.4 million in deferred, contingent combination payments tied to continued employment). Pro-forma operating profit of £16.9 million versus an operating loss of £1.2 million in 2019.
• Profit before income tax £3.1 million, after charging adjusting items, versus a loss of £9.2 million in 2019 and pro-forma profit before income tax of £12.1 million
• Statutory result for the period £3.9 million (loss) after charging adjusting items after taxation versus £10.0 million (loss) in 2019 and pro-forma result for the period of £1.2 million (loss)
• Adjusted basic net result per share 7.9p versus 5.2p in 2019 and 9.8p pro-forma
• Basic and diluted net result per share 0.8p (loss) which includes adjusting items after tax versus 2.7p (loss) in 2019 and pro-forma adjusted basic net result per share 0.2p (loss)
• Year-end net cash £51.6 million, even after significant combination payments since £113 million net fundraising in July 2020, reflecting strong liquidity from operations and EBITDA conversion to cash flow from operating activities of 99% versus 74% in 2019
• Good start to 2021 with like-for-like January gross profit well ahead of budget and with budgeted gross profit growth like-for-like for 2021 of 25%
Commenting in the results, Sorrell said: “Our second full financial year was again outstandingly successful. Having established brand awareness and secured brand trial in the back end of 2018 and in 2019, we set about converting client relationships at scale and now have five “Whoppers” secure or in sight, in line with our ultimate 20 squared objective, that is 20 clients each generating revenues of over $20 million per annum.
“Pride of place for these achievements should go to our (now) over 4,400 people in 31 countries, who have responded unflinchingly to the colossal strain and challenge of the pandemic. Their creativity, adaptability, resilience and hard work have made this success possible and have started to prove the potency of our new age/new era, digital, data-driven, unitary model, which has started to gain significant traction. The pandemic has, at the same time, accelerated adoption of digital transformation amongst consumers, across all media and within enterprises and, in turn, stimulated the demand from clients for digital marketing expertise.
“We continued to grow our top line and bottom line at industry leading rates, despite covid-19 and exhibited agility in developing new content revenue streams quickly, such as robotic production, animation and on-line events and driving data & digital marketing net revenues, particularly in the fourth quarter and into this year. We continued to broaden and deepen our Content and Data & digital media practices through organic growth and by the addition of a further four Content and six Data & digital media companies in 2020 and so far in early 2021. We further integrated our unitary client offering around our Content and Data & digital media practices. We broadened and deepened our client roster. We embraced the diversity, equity and inclusion and ESG opportunities and challenges with unique black-orientated fellowship and female executive leadership programmes, changed hiring practices and education programmes and made zero carbon commitments targeting 2024. We achieved double $ and £ Unicorn status in terms of stock market value, in only our second full year, while strengthening our balance sheet to take advantage of short-term opportunities.
“2021 has started strongly, well in line with our latest three year plan to double organically in three years and we are focused on three objectives for the year – to bed down our two new “Whoppers” and develop and identify five more; to roll-out our unitary branding; and to continue to broaden and deepen our digital client offering by combination. We believe 2021 and 2022 will be very strong years economically, as the world rebounds from the pandemic and spends and invests the huge pandemic-driven fiscal and monetary stimulus. Digital marketing expenditure is closely correlated, but not dependent on GDP growth, just as traditional media spending used to be in the last century.”
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