Martin Sorrell’s digital sweet spot pushes S4 Capital billings up 13%

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 10 November 2020

S4 Capital's third quarter:

  • Revenue up more than half (53%) and almost 13% like-for-like
  • Gross profit up almost 79% and almost 23% like-for-like
  • Year-to-date revenue up almost 58% and more than 9% like-for-like
  • Year-to-date gross profit up almost 78% and almost 16% like-for-like

Martin Sorrell’s digital play S4 Capital has blasted through COVID-19, with like-for-like revenue up 13% to £86.39 million in the September quarter in an otherwise “stagnant advertising” industry.

Pay levels have been restored for senior executives and directors who took a 50% cut in March during the depths of the economic fallout from the pandemic.

And the company continues to expand aggressively, with staff now at 2,870, up 26% on the same time last year.

In London, the company's shares closed 3% higher at 456 pence.

“We continue to trade in line with ambitious internal and external targets, which now include doubling both top and bottom lines organically over the period 2021 to 2023,” says Sir Martin Sorrell, executive chairman. He is also the founder of WPP, the world’s largest advertising group.

“Our consistent, very strong organic gross profit growth of almost 16% so far this year and almost 23% in the third quarter, indicates that we are well positioned in the digital sweet spot of an otherwise stagnant advertising and marketing industry.

“Clients are responding very well to our new age/new era, purely digital, ‘holy trinity’ model of first party data fueling digital content, data and digital media.

“COVID-19 has acted as an accelerator for search, social and ecommerce.”

Big pitch wins this year include the BMW/Mini Engine in Europe.

Sir Martin is optimistic about the prospects for 2021.

“We plan further integration and combinations in 2021, which will reinforce our client appeal,” he says.

“Agility, accentuated by the impact of COVID-19, remains the key, requisite corporate attribute for success, characterised by a shared purpose and vision, a network of empowered teams, rapid decision making, dynamic, passionate talent and enabling technology.”

Q3 numbers:

s4 capital q3 2020

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