S4 Capital postpones 2021 results in surprise move because of PwC audit delay

PwC 'unable to complete the work' in time for S4’s results due on 31 March.

Sir Martin Sorrell: S4 Capital's shares fell following results delay (Getty Images)
Sir Martin Sorrell: S4 Capital's shares fell following results delay (Getty Images)

Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital has postponed the publication of its 2021 financial results in a surprise move – just hours before the company was set to present them to investors.

S4 Capital released an unscheduled statement to the stock market at 3.56pm on Wednesday (30 March), explaining that its auditors, PwC, had been unable to complete the audit of the results in time for a planned announcement at 7am on Thursday.

S4 Capital’s share price initially plunged by one third on the news to £3.10.

The company statement said: “At 2:30pm today (30 March 2022) our auditors, PwC informed us that they were unable to complete the work necessary for S4 Capital to release the preliminary statement tomorrow morning. 

“As a result, the company will release its preliminary results for 2021 as soon as PwC have completed their work.

“The company believes that the results for 2021 remain within the range of market expectations and continued to trade strongly in the first two months of 2022.”

It is unusual for a company to postpone its financial results so close to the day of release. Typically, a company pre-arranges an investor call and results presentation for what is one of the most important days in the annual financial calendar.

Results announcement pushed back for a second time

It is the second time that S4 Capital has moved back its 2021 financial results.

Sorrell’s company announced on 12 January that it expected to report annual results on 18 March.

Then S4 Capital said on 1 March that it would push back the results to 31 March. “Because of the impact of Covid and Omicron on travel and resource allocation, particularly in the Netherlands, PricewaterhouseCoopers has requested a further period to complete its audit work,” S4 Capital said at the time, adding that it expected to report results “in line with market expectations”.

Sorrell launched S4 Capital in 2018, after leaving WPP after three decades.

The self-styled new-era digital marketing services company has merged with more than two dozen acquired companies, including MediaMonks, Mighty Hive and Firewood.

The share price surged from a little over £1 to more than £8 in autumn 2021.

However, since then, S4 Capital’s stock has fallen back, partly on lower profit margin forecasts and then global economic uncertainty connected with Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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