M&C Saatchi PLC - London-based advertising agency - Net revenue in the six months that ended June 30 declines 7.0% to GBP120.4 million from GBP129.4 million a year before, but M&C Saatchi says within that double-digit-percentage growth in 'Issues' and 'Passions' specialisms show the benefit of its diversification away from traditional advertising. Swings to pretax loss of GBP5.1 million from GBP300,000 profit. On an adjusted basis, pretax profit nearly halves to GBP8.8 million from GBP16.0 million. Net cash falls to GBP15.4 million from GBP39.7 million. Declares no interim dividend, unchanged from a year before. Paid a final dividend for 2022 and intends to adopt a progressive dividend policy in the future.

M&C Saatchi aims to deliver GBP3.8 million in annualised cost cuts this year, with GBP1.5 million of that benefiting 2023. Targets GBP10 million in annualised saving by end of 2024. Says revenue is pacing marginally ahead of this time last year with 85% of expected full-year revenue booked. Expects "small single-digit" net revenue decline in the second half.

Zillah Byng-Throne, the former chief executive of magazine publisher Future PLC, moved from non-executive chair to executive chair from the start of this month, as Chief Executive Officer Moray MacLennan will retire the end of the month. M&C Saatchi points to "enhanced, simplified leadership structure under a new executive chair" with "investment focused on our specialisms, and new leadership roles to drive creativity, execution, and efficiency".

Current stock price: 125.00 pence, down 3.9% in London midday Thursday

12-month change: down 19%

By Tom Waite, Alliance News editor

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