Staff at magazine publisher Future to share in £10m bonus pot

Staff at Future, the owner of magazines from Marie Claire to Metal Hammer, are to share a £10m bonus pot after the pandemic-proof publisher reported expectation-busting revenues and profits for the year.

Shares in the company, which also owns digital assets including TechRadar and comparison site GoCompare, soared by more than 15% to make it the biggest riser on the FTSE 250 on Tuesday morning as investors cheered a forecast that next year will be even better, with results “materially above” existing estimates.

Future reported a doubling of profit before tax to £107.8m, and a 79% increase in revenues to £606m in the year to the end of September. While these figures were flattered by fresh acquisitions made during the year, the company still reported year-on-year organic revenue growth of 23% – enough to beat its own forecast.

The publisher, which generates revenue from magazine sales, digital advertising, and e-commerce by sending online customers to partner retailers, also said it had enjoyed record Black Friday trading in the UK and the US.

“I am pleased to announce another set of exceptional results,” said the chief executive, Zillah Byng-Thorne, who has made more than £8m in the previous two years from the performance of the company, and can expect another bumper payday when this year’s remuneration is revealed next month. “Looking ahead, we expect our diversified strategy to continue to deliver.”

Future, which has proved a pandemic success story thanks to a boom in reading and online shopping, said that after the strong results it will be “paying out the maximum in our all staff annual profit pool bonus scheme”.

Under the scheme, the minimum each of Future’s 2,800 staff will receive is a bonus of £2,250, with the amount graduated by factors including salary level, from a total pot estimated to be about £10m. In 2022, staff earning under £50,000 will receive a 4% pay rise, and those on more will get 2%.

A new bonus scheme for management, which has been implemented despite 40% of Future shareholders voting against it, could award Byng-Thorne £40m when it starts paying out in tranches from 2023.

The scheme will also benefit staff, who will share an annual pot of shares capped at £95m for three years, as long as Future’s share price rises at least 10% a year between 2020 and 2025, which it is currently doing.

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