Magazines giant Future hikes up forecasts as readers rush to view content online

Shares set to leap as company says sales “materially” ahead of expectations

Magazine publisher Future today declared its profits were running way ahead of City expectations in a statement likely to trigger a big share price surge.

The company behind about 140 titles such as PC Gamer, Total Film and Classic Rock has shifted successfully into digital media and said it is now benefiting from the rising numbers of people migrating onto reading their news and entertainment content online.

Since it last reported on trading in July, the company said, visitor numbers to its sites had rocketed 25% in the UK and 40% in the US compared with the previous year.

Futhermore, titles from its recent. £140 million takeover of TI Media are selling better than management had hoped, with highlights including new websites for outdoor sports enthusiasts and for animal lovers.

As a result, Future said: “full-year adjusted operating profit is now expected to be materially ahead of current market expectations.”

Strong cash generation was enabling it to cut its debts rapidly as well, the company said.

Synergies from the deal are also running ahead of expectations, allowing chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne to upgrade targets for those savings from £15 million a year to £20 million

Byng-Thorne said: “We are delighted the strong Group performance has continued, putting Future on track to deliver full-year results materially ahead of expectations.

“Whilst macro uncertainty remains in light of the pandemic, we are well positioned to benefit from the continued shift to digital media as we grow our global audiences.”