Centaur Media share price dips after magazine publisher reports rise in net debt figure

William Turvill
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Magazine publisher Centaur Media reported revenue of £70.5m in 2015 (Source: Getty)

The share price of Centaur Media dipped by nearly four per cent today after the publisher reported an increase in its net debt figure.

The figures

Centaur - which publishes magazines including Marketing Week, The Engineer and The Lawyer - reported revenue of £70.5m in 2015.

This was down three per cent from £72.8m in 2014. But the publisher said that on an underlying basis - excluding the impact of disposals and discontinued events - revenue was up four per cent.

The company reported a net debt of £17.9m. This was £14.7m at the end of 2014.

The company made an operating loss of £4.7m last year, down from a £3m profit in 2014.

Centaur said this was explained by an £11.9m non-cash impairment of goodwill in its professional division. Centaur reported that its adjusted operating profit was £10.5m, up from £10.2m.

The dividend per share was 3p, flat on 2014.

Why it’s interesting

Broker Peel Hunt today downgraded Centaur from “add”, with a target price of 80p, to “hold”, with a target price of 65p.

Analysts said revenue and profit were in line with expectations but that net debt of £17.9m was a “poor figure”. Peel Hunt noted that in November original debt expectations were £11.8m.

Meanwhile, Shore Capital reduced its earnings per share forecast from 6p to 5.6p.

Analyst Roddy Davidson said: "Whilst it is very disappointing to be reducing our forecasts, we remain of the view that Centaur is significantly better placed to drive revenue and margin growth from its prominent B2B brands following a period of concerted rationalisation, repositioning, investment and on-going product development."

Centaur's share price closed to 56p on Wednesday. Today, it dropped nearly four per cent to below 54p. The price was more than 80p last October.

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What Centaur said

Andria Vidler, chief executive:

I'm pleased with these results. They show steady progress as we rebuild Centaur for growth. 2015 was the year of heavy lifting with investment in IT systems across the group, developing our in-house capability and creating a strong customer-centric model. 2016 will see the completion of this work, allowing Centaur to accelerate towards our medium term target of a 20% adjusted operating margin.