M&C Saatchi shares jump after ad firm beats forecasts

Media and advertising firm M&C Saatchi has hailed trading “ahead of expectations” for the past five months as it posted narrowing losses for 2020.

Shares in the company soared after it lifted its guidance, telling shareholders that bosses expect its full-year figures for 2021 to come in “ahead of expectations”.

It said its headline pre-tax profit for the first half of the year is set to be more than £10 million after a strong five months to May.

The positive update represents a strong start for M&C Saatchi’s new leadership team, after its three founders left the company last year in the aftermath of an accounting scandal.

Moray MacLennan, who took over as chief executive officer at the turn of the year, said: “2020 was undoubtedly a watershed year for the company.

“We went into the year confronted by Covid-19 and ended with a new strategy and the unswerving support of the Group’s employees and a new structure in place for 2021.

“This initial success and our continued focus on innovation, technology and data, combined with creativity, which is at our core, gives us confidence for the remainder of the year and beyond.”

It came as the ad firm revealed that operating losses narrowed by 55% to £4.9 million for 2020.

Meanwhile, net revenues decreased by 12.1% to £225.4 million for the year after clients’ marketing budgets were impacted by the pandemic.

The firm said it had been boosted by new business from clients including TikTok, Lexus, Tinder and the government.

Shares in the business rose by 10.6% to 163.6p in early trading.