DMGT 2021 Group profit up, but Events & Exhibitions continue to feel pandemic impact

The Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) Group has reported results for the year ended 30 September 2021 that reflect strong growth in its Property Information, a stable Consumer  Media performance but which also illustrate the continuing impact of the pandemic on the Group’s Events and Exhibitions business.

Overall, Group revenue was down just 1% underlying, with adjusted profit up 5% on the 2020 figure.

Events and exhibitions revenues, however, fell 56% to £34m for 2021, down from £79m recorded for the year to 30 September 2020. Events & Exhibitions’ cash operating income and adjusted operating profit were both reduced by an underlying £15m.

In its Outlook section of the latest financial report, DMGT said it expected, “some recovery in revenues from the Events & Exhibitions and Consumer Media businesses, although the extent remains uncertain”.

The Group increased its final dividend 17.3p; full year dividend increased +3% to 24.9p.

There was also substantial portfolio activity with £1,535m of net disposals and £139m acquisitions and investments in FY 2021.

DMGT disposed of Insurance Risk (RMS) and EdTech (Hobsons) and acquired New Scientist and investments by dmg ventures, including in Cazoo. There was also a recommended offer for DMGT made by RCL at £2.55 per share and conditional special dividend of £5.68 cash and c.0.5749 Cazoo shares per DMGT share.

DMGT CEO Paul Zwillenberg commented on the results: “2021 has been a truly historic year for DMGT. I am immensely proud of the hard work, creativity and commitment that all our people have demonstrated and the significant value we have created for our shareholders through the execution of our strategy.

“We achieved premium valuations for RMS, our Insurance Risk business, and Hobsons, our EdTech business, with net proceeds totalling over £1.5bn. The transactions clearly demonstrate the value created in recent years, through sustained organic investment combined with our focus on improving operational performance, making both businesses particularly attractive to trade buyers. We are also delighted that Cazoo successfully completed its listing on the New York Stock Exchange following DMGT’s previous participation in multiple funding rounds. Our stake was valued at £763m at year end, equivalent to six and a half times our investment.

“The financial strength of the Group today is a reward for the consistent and disciplined strategy we have followed, with our clear goals of increasing portfolio focus, improving operational execution and maintaining financial flexibility. DMGT is now more tightly focused in three sectors with a notably higher weighting to Consumer Media.

“From a financial and operational perspective, DMGT delivered a creditable performance in the year. Our Property Information businesses delivered strong growth, supported by particularly high residential property transaction volumes in the UK. In Consumer Media, we saw good revenue and profit contribution growth from MailOnline and a solid performance from the Mail print titles driving profit contribution growth for the Mail businesses as a whole. Unsurprisingly, the commuter newspaper Metro and our Events business continue to be significantly impacted by the pandemic.

“Looking ahead, DMGT will continue to invest, prioritising organic opportunities and taking advantage of technological change, whilst maintaining a long-term perspective.” 

Photo: DMGT chairman Lord Rothermere