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News 6 May 2022 - 4 min read

S4 Capital publishes unaudited 2021 results after ‘embarrassing’ delay, doubles revenue, targets more ‘whopper’ clients

By Sam Buckingham-Jones - Deputy Editor

Whilst this growth, both organic and through business combinations, is very satisfying, the delay in producing our 2021 results is unacceptable and embarrassing ," Sir Martin Sorrell said.

Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital has published its 2021 results, more than a month after announcing auditors had failed to sign off on them. Sorrell said the delay was “totally unacceptable and embarrassing to all of us” while reporting a "very satisfying" doubling of revenue and six “whopper” clients generating $20m plus. S4 now employs 8,400 people across 33 countries.

What you need to know:

  • S4 Capital has released its unaudited 2021 results, more than a month after it announced there would be a delay.
  • The results show a doubling of revenue from A$597m to A$1.19bn, with a loss of A$98.8m.
  • Executive Chairman Sir Martin Sorrell said the delay in its results had been “totally unacceptable and embarrassing to all of us”.

Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital has published its “unaudited” 2021 results, more than a month after it told the London Stock Exchange its auditor had failed to sign off on the accounts.

In comments published alongside the results, Sorrell said the delay in the results was “totally unacceptable and embarrassing to all of us”. S4’s share price jumped 20 per cent on Thursday 5 May after it indicated it would published the results on Friday the 6th.

To summarise the results, the group reported revenue of £686.6m (A$1.19bn) – more than double 2020’s £342.7m (A$597m). Gross profit rose to £560m (A$976m), up from £295.2m (A$514.4m), while the company reported a £56.7m (A$98.8m) loss for the year – up from a £3.9m (A$6.8m) loss in 2020.

In the results announcement, Sorrell said the company had six “whopper” clients – those that generated revenues of more than $20m each year – and had identified 19 more “whoppertunities”. Its current “whoppers” include Google, Meta, Mondelez, BMW/MINI and HP, as well as one Big Tech company under a non-disclosure agreement.

"In our third full financial year we almost doubled in size, approximately half through organic growth and approximately half through combinations,” he said.

“Approximately half of our revenues (are) from technology clients. We plan to achieve our ultimate 20 objective, that is twenty clients each generating revenues of over $20 million per annum, over the period 2022-24. Whilst this growth, both organic and through business combinations, is very satisfying, the delay in producing our 2021 results is unacceptable and embarrassing and significant changes in our financial control, risk and governance structure and resources are being implemented and planned.”

Sorrell praised the more than 8,400 “Monks” across 33 countries now part of S4’s global team. The company works with the brands mentioned above, as well as Amazon, Paypal, Netflix, and Procter & Gamble. Sorrell said S4 aimed to be carbon neutral by 2024.

The 77-year-old founded WPP, one of the world's largest advertising groups, before being ousted in 2018. He told Mi3 he couldn't move fast enough to reengineer WPP. 

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