20 January 2020
Bonhill Group plc
("Bonhill", the "Company" or the "Group")
Bonhill Group plc (AIM: BONH), a leading B2B media business specialising in three key areas: Business Insight, Events and Data & Analytics, provides the following trading update for the year ended 31 December 2019 (the "Year"). All figures for the Year included in this announcement remain subject to audit.
Revenue for the Year is expected to be £24.4 million (9 months ended 31 December 2018: £8.0 million) and the Board now expects EBITDA for the Year to be £2.3 million (9 months ended 31 December 2018: £0.9 million), being lower than market expectations as approximately £0.25m of custom marketing contracts which had been expected to be delivered in December 2020 will now be delivered in Q1 2020.
The Group will incur exceptional integration and restructuring costs totalling £2.8 million (2018: £0.3 million) in the Year due mainly to the planned integration of each of InvestmentNews and Last Word Media, which were acquired by the Company in August 2018 and April 2019 respectively, and increased restructuring costs relating to personnel changes in both businesses. As previously announced, this restructuring will realise £1.5m of cost savings in 2020. Cash at 31 December 2019 is expected to be £1.9 million (2018: £4.4 million).
The Company announced in its trading update on 13 November 2019 that InvestmentNews had seen a return to more normalised trading patterns. The Board is pleased to announce that this has continued into this year with bookings to date at a similar level to the corresponding period last year which was a strong trading period. Following the significant changes in personnel made during the course of the Year, including a new CEO and largely a new sales team, and the investment made in technology combined with the move to more custom offerings and consultative selling, it is pleasing to report that InvestmentNews has a healthy pipeline of opportunities which gives the Board greater confidence of an improved performance in 2020.
Last Word Media
The specific issues which impacted the business during the Year have abated with the exception of the well publicised situation in Hong Kong which represents a much lower percentage of Last Word Media's business than at the corresponding period last year. Following the changes made since its acquisition in April 2019, and the much improved backdrop following the decisive General Election result in December 2019, the Board anticipates Last Word Media's performance this year to be materially ahead of the result for the Year.
The business starts this year with a better structure leading to a clearer focus and enhanced decision making along with a lower cost base and has a healthy book of forward orders in each of its Events, digital and print businesses. Specifically, all of its major congress events due to be held in 2020 have already sold out, including the newly launched Fixed Income Congress, marking the first activities away from the business' historical concentration on European Active activities. In addition, the enhanced content offering from Portfolio Adviser has resulted in a new record of more than 1 million page views being achieved in the Year for the brand. Finally, 2020 will see a greater emphasis being placed on Last Word's ESG offerings which continue to show the potential for material growth.
The Board anticipates that the performance of the Group's UK Media businesses will be materially ahead of that in the Year. This is principally due to the changes made during the Year to the team and as a result of selling a broader product set to a wider range of clients. The UK Events business which ended the Year with a series of successful launch events, including Women in Finance - Toronto and Women in IT - Toronto, is due to hold its flagship Women in IT Awards later this month with attendance likely to be similar to last year's record.
As previously announced, the Group is nearing completion of its initial technology investment programme. Migration in the US from the Group's legacy platform has been successfully completed and the planned redesign of the InvestmentNews site is progressing well and will be released shortly as part of the Group's new agile development methodology. This key investment provides the Group with a stable open platform with the ability to expand and greatly improve the features which can be delivered for customers.
Simon Stilwell, Bonhill's Chief Executive, commented:
"2019 was a difficult year for the Group with the specific issues in UK fund management and fund flow, changes in senior leadership across the business and the uncertain political situation in Hong Kong all contributing. The outlook in both the UK and US is greatly improved, reflected in the current level of bookings being received, and the changes we have made in personnel aligned to the technology and infrastructure investment give us an altogether clearer outlook for 2020. We have seen a promising start to 2020 with improved client engagement, order flow and an increased level of RFPs across all the businesses. We look forward to harnessing the new technology platform for the benefit of our customers and growth."
For further enquiries please contact:
Bonhill Group plc +44 (0)20 7250 7035
Simon Stilwell, Chief Executive
David Brown, Group Finance Director
Shore Capital (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker) +44 (0)20 7408 4050
Tom Griffiths/David Coaten (Corporate Advisory)
Fiona Conroy (Corporate Broking)
Canaccord Genuity Limited (Joint Broker) +44 (0)20 7523 8000
About Bonhill Group plc
Bonhill Group plc is a leading, AIM-quoted, B2B media company providing Business Insight, Events and Data & Analytics propositions to Financial Services, Diversity and Technology business communities in 25 countries. Bonhill operates fifteen information websites, publishes four regular print titles, hosts 120 events per annum, offers a portfolio of data & analytics propositions and provides a range of content marketing solutions.
The business creates content, sales and marketing opportunities, networking events and transactional opportunities for its audiences of entrepreneurs, business owners and managers, CTOs & technology leaders, asset & wealth managers, and professional women, in addition to its sponsors, advertising clients and customers. Flagship brands include: InvestmentNews, Portfolio Adviser, Fund Selector Asia, What Investment, SmallBusiness.co.uk, GrowthBusiness.co.uk, Information Age, Women in… events series, and DiversityQ.
For more information visit www.bonhillplc.com