Ascential shares jump 20% as group boosts forecasts

Ascential shares jump 20% as publishing group boosts forecasts and unveils plans to spin-off digital arm

  • Ascential’s annual revenues are expected to come in higher than forecast
  • The group’s share price has fallen by over 26% in the last year  

Publishing group Ascential has revealed plans to spin-off its digital arm. 

Ascential unveiled the plans to shareholders on Wednesday as it said it now expects full-year revenues and earnings to come in ahead of market forecasts.

The group, which specialises in information, analytics and e-commerce optimisation, said saw double-digit revenue growth across all four segments last year.

Total revenue for the year ending 31 December 2022 is expected to be at least £520million, up from £349million a year earlier and ahead of consensus expectations of between £479million and £516million.

Ascential shares rose sharply today and were up 23.17 per cent or 48.20p to 256.20p this afternoon, having fallen over 26 per cent in the past year.  

Looking ahead: Ascential has revealed that its full-year revenues and adjusted EBITDA are set to come in ahead of market forecasts

Meanwhile, adjusted EBITDA is expected to reach at least £118million, against £89million back in 2021 and ahead of the consensus range of £91million to £115million.

The group has decided to separate its worldwide digital commerce assets into an independent, publicly-traded company listed in the US. 

It also plans to put WGSN up for sale, while its events businesses will continue with a UK listing as Ascential.

Ascential chair Scott Forbes and CEO Duncan Painter, will serve as chair and chief finance officer, respectively, of the listed digital commerce business.

Mr Painter, said: ‘Ascential has had an excellent end to the year, with each of our segments delivering double-digit revenue growth over 2022. 

‘Digital Commerce’s performance in particular, given the challenging backdrop, illustrates the clear competitive advantage we provide to brands trading on the marketplaces, where there remains a rare and significant growth opportunity.

‘Product Design delivered another strong performance where its record rate of customer retention is testament to the value it delivers to its customers. 

‘While the economic outlook for 2023 remains unclear, our events businesses have demonstrated extremely high levels of customer engagement in 2022, reinforcing their industry leadership and which has translated into strong levels of rebooking for 2023.’

Neil Wilson, head of markets at CMC Markets UK, said: ‘Not the only FTSE 250 company where the sum of its parts were/are worth more than the whole. Numbers also looking good with double-digit revenue growth across all four segments.’