S4 Capital posts revenue surge as Martin Sorrell apologises for results delay

The Independent
The Independent

S4 Capital has reported that its revenue doubled in 2021, as boss Sir Martin Sorrell apologised for the “unacceptable and embarrassing” delay in posting full-year results.

Shares in the advertising agency rose almost 20% on Thursday after the company announced it would be publishing the results more than a month after it said auditors had failed to sign them off.

The delay had been announced just an hour before the results were initially due, wiping almost a third off the agency’s market value.

Sir Martin said on Friday that he will be making significant changes to the company’s governance and tightening financial controls in the wake of the auditing failures.

He said: “Whilst this growth, both organic and through business combinations, is very satisfying, the delay in producing our 2021 results is unacceptable and embarrassing, and significant changes in our financial control, risk and governance structure and resources are being implemented and planned.”

The former WPP boss founded the company in 2018 and it employs more than 8,400 people in 33 countries.

Profits rose to £687 million in 2021, up from £343 million the previous year, after winning a series of new clients.

S4 Capital works with the likes of Facebook, HP, Google , Amazon and Netflix.

The business plans to add five more “whopper” clients to its portfolio in the year ahead as well as investing in its financial team to avoid auditing delays happening again.

Sir Martin attributed the agency’s growth in part to the pandemic accelerating digital transformation and creating more demand from companies wanting digital marketing expertise.

He also credited S4 Capital’s global team responding “unflinchingly” to the Ukraine war and said he believes 2022 will be a good year for the business, with consumers temporarily insulated from the impact of inflation on savings.

He added: “This is despite the significant inflation, higher interest rates, continued Covid lockdowns in China , and the bitter, vicious war in Ukraine – which will raise risk levels for clients in Central and Eastern Europe, and to a lesser extent Asia Pacific, whilst lowering them in North and South America.”

Shares in the company rose by 4% to 338.9p in early trading on Friday.

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