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Next Fifteen tipped for more progress and acquisitions in 2019

“With the geopolitical landscape remaining in flux, clients are looking for greater certainty from their marketing programmes which our agencies and data businesses are proving able to provide"
Next Fifteen raised £20mln at the end of 2018
  • 23 digital marketing and communications brands under one roof

  • Shares are up almost 20% over the past year

  • First listed in 2000 as Text 100 Group, before changing its name to OneMonday and then to Next Fifteen in 2002

  • M&S, Samsung and Nike and other big names are among its customers

  • Market value of £400mln


What it does

Next Fifteen Communications Group Plc (LON:NFC) is a digital marketing and communications group, and its brands – there are currently 23 of them – span everything from digital content to PR to market research.

The latest addition to the stable was Planning-Inc, which was bought at the turn of the year for an initial £6.3mln sum, which could rise to £15mln if the business hits its performance targets.

Planning-Inc is a predictive analytics and data marketing business and it has been hired by the likes of Marks & Spencer Group PLC (LON:MKS) to boost customer engagement.

To take M&S as an example, Planning-Inc used its tech to analyse thousands of data points to figure out what each customer who had signed up to its newsletter was likely to want to see.

It then took that information and used it to tailor its customers’ email experience based on what is most likely to be right for them.


How is it faring?

Good, by all accounts. In its latest stock exchange announcement, Next 15 said its full-year results, which are due to be announced in early April, should be in-line with expectations.

Revenue growth in the second half of its financial year “continued to outrun sector averages”, while new additions such as Activate and Planning-Inc have supplemented that growth.

The balance sheet remains strong, too, thanks to a £20mln equity raise in November, and net debt is anticipated to be approximately £5mln come 31 January – the end of NFC’s financial year.

The outlook is far from bleak as well, and bosses expect to see “further good progress” in the year ahead.


What the boss says

“The group continues to deliver above industry average organic growth,” said chairman Richard Eyre in the latest trading update.

“This is large part due to its focus on data and technology to re-enforce its creative capabilities.

“With the geopolitical landscape remaining in flux, clients are looking for greater certainty from their marketing programs which our agencies and data businesses are proving able to provide.”


What the broker says: Peel Hunt

For the year ending 31 January 2019, City broker Peel Hunt is forecasting sales of £227.3mln (2018: £196.8mln) and underlying earnings (EBITDA) of £44.1mln (2018: £35.7mln).

“Next 15 issued a trading update this morning which shows that FY19 results are anticipated to be in line with board’s expectations,” read a recent note to clients.

“Organic growth in H2 continues to outrun sector averages. Our forecast organic growth for FY19 is 7.8%.”

“Post the placing last year, we expect to see more acquisitions from Next 15 for the remainder of 2019; in particular to further add to their data and marketing technology expertise.”

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