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Future annual profits soar on acquisitions, increased monetisation of brands

The magazine group said its four acquisitions this year had broadened and strengthened its B2C and B2B portfolios and materially increased its global reach

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Future prints titles such as TechRadar and PC Gamer

Future PLC (LON:FUTR) reported strong annual earnings growth after diversifying its revenue streams and increasing its global reach through acquisitions, boosting its shares.

The magazine publisher on Friday posted an 88% rise in earnings (adjusted EBITDA) to £20.7mln in the year to the end of September on revenues 48% higher at £124.6mln.

READ: World Cup and spate of acquisitions to boost Future’s earnings this year

The firm, which prints titles such as TechRadar and PC Gamer, said its media revenue almost doubled to £64.2mln while its online revenue per user increased in both the UK by 26% to £1.68 and the US by 32% to £0.96 as the company more effectively monetises its audiences.

It significantly increased its presence in the US market driven by organic growth in its media division and through the acquisitions of Purch B2C (via a fully underwritten rights issue which raised £105.7mln) and NewBay Media.

Future also bought three gaming and technology brands from Nextmedia in Australia in September and focused on monetizing its TechRadar Pro title.

The company achieved considerable online audience growth during the period with 142mln websites users per month – up from 49mln in 2017. 

"Our four acquisitions this year have broadened and strengthened our B2C and B2B portfolios and materially increased our global reach. The expansion of our US business also presents material opportunities to monetise our significant US online audience,” CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne said in a statement.

"The year has started well with trading ahead of the Board's expectations for this quarter, and while we recognise there is still much uncertainty for the remainder of the year, the Board is confident that trading will continue the trends of the last year with strong growth."

Peel Hunt analysts said internal inefficiencies at Future had now been fixed and going forward, the company’s focus on fast-growing and high margin media revenues was wise.

"While we expect weakness in magazines to persist, we believe the growth of its highly lucrative media revenues will more than compensate for this," Peel Hunt's analysts said in a note to clients.

Shares in Future were 7.6% up at 520.0p in early trade.

- Updates with analyst comment, share price - 

Quick facts: Future PLC

Price: 1396 GBX

LSE:FUTR
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £1.37 billion
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