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Ascential First Half Revenue Rises, Acquires Stake In Avast's Jumpshot

(Alliance News) - Business events organiser Ascential PLC said on Monday reported a "strong" ...

Alliance News 22 July, 2019 | 8:50AM
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(Alliance News) - Business events organiser Ascential PLC said on Monday reported a "strong" revenue rise in line with expectations in the first half of the 2019 financial year, following growth across all of its divisions.

In the six months to June 30, the company's pretax profit rose 32% year-on-year to GBP30.5 million from GBP23.1 million on a revenue of GBP236.2 million.

Its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 21% year-on-year to GBP76.7 million from GBP63.3 million.

The 25% rise in revenue was helped by growth in its sales in its Marketing, Product Design, Sales and Built Environment & Policy units.

Assisted by "margin improvement" in its Cannes Lions festival, the marketing segment had a 25% revenue rise to GBP100.5 million from GBP80.7 million in 2018. Its Product Design unit had a 10% rise to GBP41.6 million from GBP37.8 million.

Following "rapid customer acquisitions" in its Edge data platform, the Sales division had a revenue jump of 43% to GBP76.4 million from GBP53.4 million. Its Built Environment & Policy unit had a 4% year-on-year revenue rise to GBP17.7 million from GBP17.0 million.

The company trimmed its interim dividend to 1.8 pence from 1.9p for the same period last year. Ascential said the slight reduction reflected the disposal of its Exhibitions business, which last year generated 4.0p per share of adjusted diluted earnings per share.

Shares in Ascential were up 2.5% at 388.80 pence each in London on Monday morning.

Chief Executive Duncan Painter said: "In the first six months of the year Ascential has made considerable progress against our four key goals for 2019: focus on execution; integration of Edge; returning our Marketing segment to growth; and rolling out our One Ascential Operating Model across Ascential.

"This operational progress, together with the acceleration of WGSN, the excellent performance of Flywheel and good growth at Money20/20, give the Board confidence in our overall 2019 performance and our medium-term target to achieve double-digit growth."

In a separate announcement, the company confirmed that it has agreed to acquire 35% of Jumpshot Inc, the marketing analytics subsidiary of Avast PLC. The deal is expected to be finalised "no later than January 2021" and Ascential will also have an option to take a majority ownership in Jumpshot.

Cybersecurity provider Avast said that Ascential will pay USD60.8 million in cash for the stake.

Chief Executive Ondrej Vlcek said: "We believe Ascential is the ideal partner to help Jumpshot move to the next level. The synergy potential of combining Jumpshot with Ascential's global reach, product roadmap and customer base will enable Jumpshot to accelerate growth and product development."

Shares in Avast were up 0.8% at 342.20 pence each in London on Monday morning.

By Eric Cunha; ericcunha@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2019 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Rating
Ascential PLC 336.20 GBX 1.88 -
Avast PLC 443.20 GBX 2.26 -

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