Global has reported a ninth year of increased profits, underlining how it was in a strong financial position at the end of its last financial year – before it made its triple M&A move into the out-of-home sector in autumn 2018.
Global Media and Entertainment, the UK holding company for Britain’s biggest commercial radio group, increased earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation by 34% to £104m in the year to March 2018.
Revenues leapt 28% to £388m, thanks primarily to growth in the radio advertising sales business and the expansion of its festivals arm, according to newly filed accounts at Companies House.
Global, owner of Capital, Classic, Heart and LBC radio stations and programmatic audio ad platform Dax, claimed its 13% revenue growth in radio "far exceeded" the wider market, which it said grew 8%, according to a figure from trade body Radiocentre.
The accounts said Global had benefited from its "continued focus on high-quality radio programming as well as successful revenue diversification, both in terms of geographical markets served and products offered".
The company described the results as "exceptional" and warned that "future levels of activity will return to a more typical trading outlook of moderate but stable growth".
However, Global’s accounts were signed off in summer 2018 – before it stunned the UK OOH sector by buying Outdoor Plus, Primesight and Exterion Media in the space of three weeks in the autumn.
Industry estimates suggest Global should roughly double its annual turnover following the OOH acquisitions to close to £800m, although the Exterion takeover is facing an investigation by the Competition & Markets Authority.
The 2018 accounts show radio brought in £329.5m and music festivals £58.5m. The radio business was more profitable, generating 82% of revenue and 89% of Ebitda.
The Tabor family controls Global, which has a private equity-style debt structure. However, Global made a pre-tax profit of £25.1m compared with a £3m loss a year earlier as it reduced finance costs.
Accounts show Ebitda has quadrupled from £26m in the year to March 2009, and risen for nine years in a row since then, although acquisitions have helped to drive growth.
A Global spokesman declined to comment on its accounts.