Ascential acquisition synergies ‘at the top end’, as Russia also delivers for ITE

ITE Group plc said its Russia business is contributing significantly to revenues and its latest trading statement also reports synergies following its acquisition of Ascential at the top end of its forecasts. The Group’s trading update for its third quarter trading period from 1 April 2019 to 30 June 2019 claimed performance was in line with management expectations.

Revenues for the nine months to 30 June 2019 were circa £176m (nine months to 30 June 2018: £134m). On a like-for-like basis this is an increase of 7% ahead of the comparative period.

Four top 10 events took place in the quarter, which collectively delivered double digit revenue growth. MosBuild in particular delivered strong double-digit revenue growth for the second year, following TAG investment.

Revenues for the quarter were circa £69m (three months to 30 June 2018: £58m), due mainly to the improvements delivered in the top 10 events, together with the impact of acquisitions, a Group statement said.

The TAG (transformation and growth) programme is now in its final year and ITE said it was seeing positive momentum due to the scalable platform now in place.

“We continue to manage our portfolio actively and discontinued two non-core events in the quarter,” the Group’s trading statement said.

“We announced the acquisition of the Ascential Events business in this quarter a year ago. We are pleased to report that the integration is now complete, with associated costs in line with guidance. In addition to completing the integration, we have also realised annualised synergies of £5m, at the top end of our guidance, and we have rolled out product investment plans. We have delivered on the first-year objectives we set out when we announced the acquisition.”

The Group reports having settled its litigation with the landlord of a venue in Siberia, disclosed as a contingent liability in the FY18 and HY19 reports. Settlement was reached at approximately £1m, including costs, compared to the £20m claim from the landlord.

Net debt as at 30 June 2019 was circa £116m after continued TAG investment in the period, the Mining Indaba deferred consideration payment and the Ascential Events integration.

In terms of Outlook, as at 28 June 2019, the Group had booked circa £210m of revenue for FY19 (6 July 2018: £153m) representing 98% of current market expectations for the full year. On a like-for-like revenue basis, these bookings are 6% ahead of this time last year, largely due to the performance of events that have received TAG investment, particularly in Russia.

The Board is confident in the Group achieving its full year expectations.

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