S4 Capital's second full-year 'outstandingly successful'

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 25 March 2021

S4 Capital's full year to December 2020:

  • Gross profit £295.2 million up 72% from £171.3 million, like-for-like up 19%, pro-forma up 24%
  • Operational EBITDA £62.2 million up 86%, like-for-like up 18%, pro-forma up 31%
  • Billings £653.4 million and pro-forma billings £768.4 million
  • Revenue £342.7 million up 59% from £215.1 million, like-for-like revenue up 15%, pro-forma up 20%
  • New clients in 2020 – BMW/Mini, Cisco, PayPal, Embibe, Pokemon, Harley Davidson, St Jude's Children Hospital
  • Expanding global presence - 4,400 people in 31 countries

Martin Sorrell's pure-play digital advertising company S4 Capital posted its second full-year results, with revenue up almost 60% to £342.7 million and like-for-like up 15.2%.

And the former CEO of WPP, the world's largest advertising group, says 2021 is off to a good start with like-for-like January gross profit well ahead of budget and with budgeted gross profit growth like-for-like for 2021 of 25%.

Sir Martin, executive chairman of S4Capital plc, described the company's second full financial year as "outstandingly successful".

And he foreshadowed more leaps in revenue.

"Having established brand awareness and secured brand trial in the back end of 2018 and in 2019, we set about converting client relationships at scale and now have five 'Whoppers' secure or in sight, in line with our ultimate 20 squared objective, that is 20 clients each generating revenues of over $20 million per annum," he says.

"We continued to grow our top line and bottom line at industry leading rates, despite COVID-19 and exhibited agility in
developing new content revenue streams quickly, such as robotic production, animation and on-line events and driving
data and digital marketing net revenues, particularly in the fourth quarter and into this year.

"We continued to broaden and deepen our Content and Data and digital media practices through organic growth and by the addition of a further four Content and six Data & digital media companies in 2020 and so far in early 2021.

"We further integrated our unitary client offering around our Content and Data & digital media practices. We broadened and deepened our client roster.

"We embraced the diversity, equity and inclusion and ESG opportunities and challenges with unique black-rientated fellowship and female executive leadership programmes, changed hiring practices and education programmes and made zero carbon commitments targeting 2024.

"We achieved double $ and £ Unicorn status in terms of stock market value, in only our second full year, while strengthening our balance sheet to take advantage of short-term opportunities.

"2021 has started strongly, well in line with our latest three year plan to double organically in three years and we are focused on three objectives for the year - to bed down our two new 'Whoppers' and develop and identify five more; to roll-out our unitary branding; and to continue to broaden and deepen our digital client offering by combination.

"We believe 2021 and 2022 will be very strong years economically, as the world rebounds from the pandemic and spends and invests in the huge pandemic-driven fiscal and monetary stimulus.

"Digital marketing expenditure is closely correlated, but not dependent on GDP growth, just as traditional media spending used to be in the last century." 

The full year to December 2020:

s4 full year 2020

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