Time Out shares jump sharply as publishing group’s magazines and food markets continue to recover from pandemic
- It reported ‘noticeable increases’ in advertising spend in its magazine business
- It has seen a ‘gradual’ increase in revenues at its seven food markets
- Group net revenues more than doubled to £24.7m compared to last half of 2020
Time Out’s AIM-listed shares are on the rise this morning on signs that its media and market divisions are continuing to recover from the pandemic.
As people returned to socialising, offices reopened and some travel resumed, the group saw ‘noticeable increases’ in advertising spend in its magazine business in the last six months of 2021.
Time Out Market, which is focused on opening food and restaurant markets in major world cities, also benefited from an easing of Covid restrictions, reporting a ‘gradual’ increase in revenue.
Time Out food and restaurant markets have started to see a ‘gradual’ recovery
Half-year net revenues across the group more than doubled to £24.7million – although that’s compared to the last half of 2020, when trading was hard hit by Covid restrictions.
Loss before nasties narrowed significantly to £800,000, from £6.2million in 2020.
Time Out said the first half of its financial year ‘marked the slow transition to something approaching normality across the world and in our trading environments’.
And added: ‘This represents a promising start to an anticipated longer recovery period, which will include the regaining some of the momentum lost following the emergence of the Omicron variant at the end of this period.’
Time Out shares rose 7.2 per cent to 52p in morning trading on Thursday.
However the stock, which made its debut on London’s junior market in 2016, still has not recovered from the pandemic and remains well below its 2019 peak of over 120p.
Chris Ohlund, chief executive of Time Out, said he is encouraged by the progress made in the period despite the spread of Omicron.
‘Our digital audience grew as our content remained relevant and engaging, footfall began returning to the Markets and global brands advertised with us once again,’ he said.
‘Whilst the trading environment remains challenging and uncertain, the Group’s recovery is gaining momentum and we are cautiously optimistic that now Omicron is receding, this will continue over the coming months as normality returns and the key spring and summer seasons begin.’
The group said it was beginning to transition to a post-pandemic world, which will see it continue to expand its food and restaurant markets in major world cities.
The next opening will be in Porto in 2023, followed by Abu Dhabi in 2024 and Prague in 2025.
Another one is set to open in east London in a listed building in Spitafields – instead of Waterloo as previously planned – although Time Out said it was still waiting for an outcome of its application.
‘We are in advanced discussions with partners regarding new Time Out Market management agreements, and evaluating a growing pipeline of further signings, which offer a recurring earnings stream without the need for further capital expenditure,’ it said.
In March 2020, Time Out decided to shut down all its seven markets, which include Lisbon and Chicago, and the publication of its magazines in response to the pandemic.
It has now reopened all markets but only restarted printing magazine for certain cities like London and Lisbon.
It said that, if the global recovery from the pandemic continues, it expects its markets business to return to full capacity during the 2022/23 financial year.
Its media business is also expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels in the next financial year, according to this ‘base scenario’.
Time Out shares have not recovered from the pandemic and remain well below their 2019 peak of over 120p