Ebiquity PLC – Unaudited Preliminary Results

Ebiquity PLC – Unaudited Preliminary Results

Ebiquity plc, a leading independent marketing and media consultancy, today announces its unaudited preliminary results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2018. Ebiquity works with 70 of the world's top 100 advertisers served from 18 offices and by 550 staff.

Headline Results  

2018

2017

Change

£m

£m

£m

Whole Group

Revenue

89.6

87.4

2.2

Underlying Operating Profit 1

7.3

12.0

(4.7)

Underlying Earnings per Share 1

4.5p

9.7p

(5.2p)

Continuing Business

Revenue

69.4

64.2

5.2

Underlying Operating Profit 1

6.3

9.0

(2.7)

Underlying Profit before Tax 1

5.2

7.9

(2.7)

Underlying Earnings per Share 1

3.7p

6.4p

(2.7p)

Statutory Operating Profit

(1.4)

3.8

(5.2)

Statutory Profit before Tax

(2.5)

2.7

(5.2)

Statutory  Earnings per Share

(6.4p)

0.7p

(7.1p)

Highlights

  • Planned sale of Advertising Intelligence business completed on 2 January 2019.  Business reported as "asset for sale" in 2018 financial statements
  • Strengthened executive management team is focussed on driving performance of the continuing business
  • Revenue of continuing business increased by 8% to £69.4m (7% on like-for-like, constant currency basis)
  • Underlying operating profit fell to £6.3m (2017: £9.0m) due to planned investment in the year which did not fully deliver anticipated revenue growth
  • Net debt at 31 December 2018 of £27.5m (31 December 2017: £28.9m) reduced by £20m in January 2019 following completion of Ad Intel sale
  • Further improved operating cash flow conversion of 138% (2017: 99%)
  • Proposed dividend maintained at 0.71p per share
  • Continuing business now organised into two segments: "Media" and "Analytics and Tech"

Divisional highlights

Media: Media Management, Media Performance and Contract Compliance

  • Revenue increased 5% to £54.2m
  • Strong growth in US Media practice: revenue up 26%
  • Media Management enhanced its offering and gained incremental work from clients such as McDonald's, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, L'Oreal and GlaxoSmithKline
  • Contract Compliance growing well (up 12%) and further broadened its footprint in markets including US, India and Germany
  • Operational efficiency enhanced through release of new automation tools in our Media practice and set-up of shared service media delivery centre in Spain - these will become fully operational in 2019

Analytics and Tech: Advanced Analytics, MarTech and AdTech

  • Revenue grew by 19% to £15.2m
  • Advanced Analytics business appointed as multi-market partner for a global automotive brand and awarded a highly competitive assignment for one of the world's largest telecommunications groups
  • Launched new AdTech advisory practice.  While this practice is in its infancy, the team has started well with several high impact projects including a global digital advertising technology assessment for one of the world's largest mobile operators

We will set out the revised growth strategy at a Capital Markets Day later in 2019.

Note 1: Underlying operating profit is defined as the operating profit excluding highlighted items. These include share-based payments, amortisation of purchased intangibles and non-recurring items. Underlying profit before tax and earnings per share are calculated based on the underlying operating profit.

Michael Karg, CEO of Ebiquity said:

"2018 has been a challenging, transformational and transitional year. Against the background of revenue growth, the reduction in the continuing business operating profit was disappointing and was a result that clearly fell short of our goals.  The Company now has greater financial flexibility, a more streamlined business and a strengthened management team.  We are focussed on growing and expanding our Media and Analytics & Tech practices and improving our profitability.  Ebiquity operates in a growing, dynamic and ever-evolving media market and is well-positioned to serve advertisers' needs and drive growth through the provision of specialist advice, proprietary tools and high-quality service. "

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