Centaur Media restarted its dividend after the group’s annual loss narrowed despite a drop in revenue during the pandemic.
The publisher, training and events company reported a pretax loss of £2.6m for the year to the end of December compared with a £7.8m loss the year before as revenue fell 18% £32.4m. Operating costs dropped to £35m from £49m.
Centaur said after the pandemic had a big impact on its business trading gradually improved in the second half of 2020 and the trend continued in the first quarter of 2021. Trading in the first two months of 2021 was in line with the company’s expectations and cash at the end of February was £8.2m compared with £8.3m at the end of December, Centaur said.
The publisher of The Lawyer cancelled its final 2019 dividend and 2020 interim dividend to conserve cash during the crisis. It proposed a final payout of 0.5p a share for 2020 and said it would return to its dividend policy of distributing 40% of adjusted earnings after tax with a minimum of 1p a share and consider further returns of capital to shareholders.
The company said: “We were pleased to see trading gradually improve over the second half of the year in line with our expectations and this trend is continuing into Q1 2021. Rapid management action ensured that we quickly adapted to the pandemic with the transfer of key revenue streams online combined with tight cost and cash control.”