- Advertising firm S4 Capital posted a deeper first-half loss, largely owing to acquisition costs, though its gross profit improved and it again upgraded its annual guidance.

Pre-tax losses for the six months through June amounted to £19.4 million, compared to year-on-year losses of £1.0 million, as the acquisitive company continued to snap up agencies across the globe.

Revenue rose around 98% to £279.3 million, or by 56% like-for-like and almost 57% pro-forma.

Gross profit, or net revenue, rose almost 91% to £236.7 million, or over 49% like-for-like and almost 50% pro-forma.

S4 Capital upgraded its like-for-like gross profit guidance for 2021 for the third time this year, to 40% from 35%.

Like-for-like gross profit growth of almost 33% in first quarter more than doubled to almost 66% in the second, partly reflecting easier comparatives due to the impact of Covid-19 in 2020.

'We have had a super strong first half start to 2021, in line with the fast-growing digital platforms,' executive chairman Martin Sorrell said.

'Even in comparison to 2019, we are up strongly, again more like the digital platforms.'

'It is clear that the tragedy of covid-19 has accelerated the speed of digital transformation and disruption at consumer, media and enterprise levels.'

'These results confirm that S4Capital is converting at scale with five "whopper" client (clients of more than $20 million per annum gross revenues) already and 10 more identified out of an overall target of 20.'

'We are clearly in a disruptive, growth sweet spot and our digital only, faster, better, cheaper, unitary, " holy trinity" model, which combines first party data with digital content, data and digital media is gaining traction, particularly in a cookieless world.'

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