Events revenues (up 25%) lead growth at Ascential plc in H1

UK-based B2B information, analytics and events company Ascential Plc has reported first-half revenues of £307.4m (US371.57m). That compares to H1 2022: £260.7m. EBITDA of £78.6mn (H1 2022: £67.2mn). There was a 26% margin (26%). The company reported an operating profit of £700,000, compared to a 35m loss for H1 2022.

Ascential’s WGSN product design/forecasting business reported EBITDA up 8% to £27.4mn, Events (Cannes Lions/ Money 20/20) were up by 25% while the US-based Digital Commerce was at breakeven. 

Events (comprising the Marketing and Retail & /Financial Services segments), saw growth in Marketing by 28% and the Lions’ revenue grow 30%. The Retail & Financial services segment grew 17%, while Money 20/20 Europe posted a 19% uplift in revenue.

CEO Duncan Painter (pictured) who has been reportedly keen to keep the events as a listed business in the UK, said: “Our businesses have continued to trade strongly in the first half of 2023. In particular, both Cannes Lions and Money20/20 enjoyed extremely successful editions in June and have progressed even further ahead of their pre-pandemic benchmarks. Digital Commerce has once again outperformed the underlying retail market it serves and action taken in the first half to create an integrated enterprise customer product and organisation have set the Digital Commerce business up to deliver sustainable margins and operating leverage going forward. Product Design continues to drive growth by extending its world-class trend forecasting expertise to a wider range of products and end markets.

“The strategic actions to maximise shareholder value and position each business within the portfolio for long-term success are well advanced and we will look to update the market again by the end of the year.

“After our seasonally stronger first half, we have had a solid start to the second half. Despite continued macro uncertainty impacting the industries we serve and currency headwinds, our businesses remain well set for the year, supported by multiple growth levers. The structural long-term growth in our end markets, and the success of our marquee events, underpins the Board’s confidence in the prospects of our businesses for the future.”