Daily Mail

Future looks rosy at magazine publisher

- By Hugo Duncan

Staff and investors at magazine publisher Future were given more reason to celebrate as the company delivered another bumper set of figures.

the firm, whose titles include Marie Claire, Country Life and MoneyWeek, posted a 107pc rise in annual profits to £107.8m as revenues jumped 79pc to £606.8m.

future’s 2,800 staff will share a £10m bonus, with each receiving a minimum of £2,250 – and some rather more. they are also in line for a pay rise in 2022, with those earning under £50,000 getting 4pc and those on more set for 2pc.

there was plenty for investors to cheer as well, with the dividend climbing to 2.8p a share from 1.6p the previous year.

the stock soared 12.3pc, or 392p, to 3584p – taking gains this year to 110pc. Shares are close to the august peak, above 3900p.

the stellar results are a boon for chief executive Zillah Byngthorne, 47, who could land £40m when a bonus scheme for managers starts paying out in 2023.

the update came on another day of turmoil as the Omicron

Covid variant rattled investors. the FTSE 100 fell 0.7pc, or 50.5 points, to 7059.45 while the FTSE 250 was down 1pc, or 236.61 points, to 22,519,72. the losses were echoed across Europe. Oil slid again, falling back towards $70 a barrel, having been above $80 last week.

Topps Tiles took a knock despite resuming dividends after raking in record revenues. the flooring firm, which suspended payments at the start of the pandemic, said it would pay 3.1p a share – after an 18.3pc rise in revenues for the year to October 2 to a record £228m.

It posted profits of £14.3m having lost £9.8m the previous year. But the stock fell 3.2pc, or 2p, to 60.6p as it warned of challenges in global supply chains and rising costs. Sales since the start of the new financial year are down 0.7pc on the same period of 2020 but remain 18.4pc above 2019 levels.

‘We are confident in our strategy and our ability to deliver sustainabl­e long term growth,’ said chief executive Rob Parker.

airfix and model train set firm Hornby cautioned over an unclear full-year outlook as supply chain disruption­s cloud the peak festive season. the group, which makes most of its products in China, said demand was soaring but it was suffering lost sales and rising costs amid freight container and driver shortages. It slipped to a £745m pre-tax loss for the six months to September 30 from profits of £17m a year ago.

Shipping times from overseas factories nearly doubled to around 70 days, while each container is costing up to £12,000 extra, which has forced it to hike prices.

Chief executive Lyndon Davies said: ‘Demand is higher than ever, therefore it is disappoint­ing to have experience­d the supply chain problems which seem to be easing but remain volatile. Right now it is hard to tell what the outcome will be for the full-year results.’ Shares fell 8.4pc, or 3.5p, to 38p.

Profits at supermarke­t supplier Greencore jumped by a fifth to £39m for the year to September, driven by a 4.8pc rise in revenue to £1.3bn, as the return of people to offices and universiti­es buoyed demand in the fourth quarter. the stock rose 1.5pc, or 1.9p, to 125p.

West End landlord Shaftesbur­y heralded a ‘remarkable bounceback’ in activity across its London properties after pandemic restrictio­ns were eased in July.

the company said footfall and occupier confidence particular­ly improved over the second half of the year, as it reported a loss of £194.9m for the year to September, compared with a £699.5m loss a year earlier. Shares fell 3.9pc, or 25p, to 615p.

Micro Focus lifted 8.3pc, or 31.2p, to 345.2p as its latest update did little to cheer investors. the company, which helps customers maintain and integrate It systems, hopes to end 2023 with flat or slightly growing revenues following a 5pc decline this year.

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