Interim results for the half-year ending 30 Jun 21

THG PLC

  • Group revenue of £958.8m, +44.7% YoY and +95.0% 2 year growth (constant currency), with THG Beauty H1 revenue a highlight at +59.0% YoY growth. Adjusted Group EBITDA of £81.2m, +38.6% on H1 2020
  • Ahead of schedule for both the technical separation of each of the Group’s key trading divisions and the exercise of the SB Management Limited (“SBM”) Ingenuity investment option in 2022  
  • Announcing today that THG Beauty is to be separated and listed on a public share-trading exchange in 2022
  • Nine companies across the SoftBank Group Corp. (“SoftBank”) portfolio, including AutoStore, are partnering with THG Ingenuity, driving increased THG revenue and enhanced platform functionality, with a healthy pipeline going forward underpinning the collaboration agreement
  • Launch of FIR/ST, a global-innovation combining AutoStore’s automated storage and recovery system with THG Ingenuity’s warehouse management and courier system, creating a single, headless, end-to-end global fulfilment software solution
  • 50 end-to-end, fully localised and serviced websites launched across 22 territories for existing and new THG Ingenuity clients, with over 95% of clients utilising THG’s global fulfilment network, delivering +165.5% revenue growth in H1

THG PLC (“THG” or the “Group”), the proprietary technology platform specialising in taking brands direct to consumers (“D2C”) globally, announces its interim results for the half-year ending 30 June 2021 (“H1 2021”).

H1 2021 Group Trading Performance                                                            

        
£mH1 2021H1 2020YoY(1) Growth YoY Growth CCY(2)2 Year Growth2 Year GrowthCCY
        
THG Beauty460.8295.6+55.9% +59.0%+142.2%+145.8%
THG Nutrition328.4258.0+27.3% +30.2%+66.1%+67.3%
THG Ingenuity85.861.4+39.7% +42.5%+40.5%+43.9%
THG OnDemand51.635.4+45.6% +48.7%+133.5%+136.2%
Other32.225.3+27.3% +22.4%+22.4%+16.8%
Group Revenue958.8675.7+41.9% +44.7%+92.7%+95.0%
Gross Margin %(3)46.5%45.2%     
Adj EBITDA(4)81.258.6+38.6%    
Adj EBITDA%8.5%8.7%     
Net Cash / (Debt)(5)384.6282.8     
        
Ingenuity Commerce Revenue18.36.9+165.5% +165.5%+621.2%+621.2%

(1) YoY defined as year-on-year statutory sales growth

(2) CCY defined as constant currency basis. Removing fluctuations arising from translation of foreign exchange by restating prior year numbers at current year exchange rates

(3)Gross Margin % is presented before the impact of depreciation and amortisation

(4) Adjusted EBITDA is defined as operating profit before depreciation, amortisation and adjusted items, and after £1.0m of self-funded furlough costs in H1 2021 (H1 2020: £1.6m)

(5)Net Cash / (Debt) is cash and cash equivalents less debt before lease liabilities, on a hedged basis (see note 7 to the interim results)

Matthew Moulding, Executive Chairman and CEO of THG, commented:

“I am delighted to announce a strong first half performance across all divisions, as we continue to invest significantly in support of our strategic growth ambitions. This investment is across our entire business, including our infrastructure, namely our recently-opened ICON campus and our global distribution network, in our Ingenuity platform, in building leading digital brands, and most importantly, in our people.

“In May, we announced the financial and trading partnership opportunity with SoftBank, one of the world’s leading technology investors. We are only at the start of this relationship, but we are pleased to have already established multiple live commercial partnerships between the SoftBank portfolio and our Ingenuity platform. We continue to see an acceleration in levels of enquiry from global enterprises looking to leverage the Ingenuity platform, and I believe the global growth opportunity for Ingenuity to be unparalleled.

“Today we also update on the roadmap to separating our key trading divisions, and announce our commitment to list THG Beauty in 2022, which we believe will create further value for our shareholders.

“We are also proud to be launching our 2030 sustainability strategy, outlining our key priorities and commitments in the coming weeks.”

Half-year 2021 financial highlights

·   During the first half THG shipped over 20 million orders to 195 countries. Notwithstanding more challenging comparatives in the second quarter of 2021, Group revenues increased by 44.7% on a constant currency basis to £958.8m, as consumers continued to positively migrate their shopping habits online.

·     Returning customers generated 76% of direct-to-consumer H1 2021 Group revenues, reinforcing the repeat nature of our digital brands, Ingenuity’s frictionless retailing environment and the enduring nature of consumer channel shift to online.

·    Increasing US participation at 19% of Group revenue following strong organic growth across beauty and nutrition, and the acquisition of Dermstore, the leading specialty retailer of prestige skincare online in the US. Dermstore has now been fully migrated to the Ingenuity platform ahead of schedule, with all THG Beauty own brands expected to be available to purchase at www.dermstore.com by the end of the year. THG Beauty Highlights: https://f.io/yYF73tZz

·   Building on THG Nutrition’s vertical integration capabilities, the canning and bottling expertise at Berryman’s (acquired 29 December 2020) has expedited the launch of 14 new products in the first half of 2021, supporting YoY ready-to-drink revenue growth of +59%.          

·     Ingenuity Commerce revenues grew +165.5% to £18.3m during the period with over 70, end-to-end, fully localised and serviced brand sites scheduled to launch in H2 2021 (vs 50 in H1 2021), as the business development function continues to scale with commitments to build this global team to over 100 people by the year end.

·    The Group’s measure of gross profit margin at 46.5%, is +130bps ahead of H1 2020, with gross profit growth of +46.1% on H1 2020 driven by strong underlying trading margins in Nutrition, Beauty and Ingenuity Commerce.

·     Adjusted EBITDA of £81.2m, at a margin of 8.5% (vs 8.7% in H1 2020, post self-funded furlough costs) reflects the initial dilutive impact of the Dermstore acquisition, which is expected to be neutral to the Group margin by the end of 2022 (as communicated at the time of acquisition). 

·    Strong liquidity with net cash of £384.6m at half-year end (excluding lease liabilities), with liquidity available of more than £1.0bn (including undrawn facilities).

·     Before adjusted items in the period, the Group generated an operating profit of £11.2m (H1 2020: £13.4m).

·     The Group has incurred an operating loss for the first-half of £17.4m impacted by certain non-recurring cash costs:

o £15.6m of non-recurring Distribution costs (principally transportation, delivery and fulfilment costs associated with Covid-19, which are declining as expected and now running at half of the levels seen at the peak FY 2020 position);

o  £13.0m of Administrative costs (principally acquisition related costs including legal and professional fees) which are included within adjusted items reflecting the non-underlying nature of these costs.

Half-year 2021 strategic and operational highlights

·    Over $1.0 billion capital raised to support the continuation of the Group’s disciplined M&A strategy, including the investment in Cult Beauty (acquired 4 August 2021), which will migrate fully onto the THG Ingenuity platform by the end of the year, delivering the overseas growth strategy through the platform’s well-proven internationalisation capabilities. 

·     Integration of 2021 acquisitions Dermstore, Bentley Labs and Brighter Foods all on track.

·    In addition to subscribing c. $730m as part of a wider capital raising, THG and SB Management Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of SoftBank Corp. (“SBM”) entered into an Option and Collaboration agreement to explore commercial arrangements between the Group and SoftBank portfolio companies, whilst also granting SBM an option to subscribe for a 19.9% interest in THG Ingenuity for a $1.6bn investment, at a $6.3bn enterprise value.

·    Commitment to invest in 3.6 million sq. ft. of additional fulfilment, production and personalisation capacity at key locations globally to support THG’s own-brands and Ingenuity clients, equivalent to a c. 200% increase in fulfilment capacity over three years.

·     Apps continue to be an efficient customer retention and acquisition tool:

o  7x increase in downloads vs H1 2020;

o  over 5% of D2C sales are now accounted for by app purchases;

o  the Lookfantastic app average order values (“AOVs”) are c. 5% higher than non-app sales; and

o  10 day reduction in the repeat order cycle for returning Myprotein app customers.

·    Further expansion of the THG Society influencer platform with over 26,000 global influencers onboarded, driving low cost engagement and customer acquisition to THG brands and Ingenuity clients, with influencers generating 11.0% of D2C sales in the period on a tracked1 basis (vs 8.5% in H1 2020).

·    THG recognised as one of the ‘Best Companies’ Top 25 Best Big Companies to Work for 2021, alongside improved agile working practices across the Group.

·    At Retail Risk’s Fraud Awards, THG Detect, the Group’s proprietary fraud prevention software supporting THG and Ingenuity brands, won the Most Innovative Online/Supply Chain Solution and was Highly Commended in the Loss Prevention Online/Supply Chain Team of the Year category.

 [1]Tracked is based on revenues via link last click attribution and codes which may have a last click attribution of other digital channels.

Ingenuity Commerce and SoftBank collaboration update

Ingenuity is rapidly diversifying its outreach through global, peer-to-peer, B2B partnerships to access pools of new clients. For example, THG Ingenuity is now partnering with the leading marketing, search and social network platforms, with the deepest US, UK & European and Asian penetration to promote Ingenuity services to their customers, either as an end-to-end full-service or headless components. Ingenuity has been selected as a preferred partner given its proven capabilities across e-commerce internationalisation, data intelligence, in-app payment methods, marketing and many more services.

THG Ingenuity has also partnered with leading beauty tech solutions provider Perfect Corp. to offer consumers across Ingenuity’s sites the ability to preview products or experience services in their own environment via augmented reality and artificial technology. In its partnership with StoryStream, an artificial intelligence powered curation platform, Ingenuity is helping D2C brands display user-generated content across the e-commerce journey.

New client highlights for H1 2021 include:

·     Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (“CCEP”) is taking advantage of THG Ingenuity’s unique end-to-end offering, proven expertise, and speed of delivery to deliver a D2C site in Great Britain. The tie-up spans a full range of e-commerce services including hosting, trading, operations, and delivery, with the brand leveraging D2C to drive long-term brand loyalty and generate insight. The partnership aims to grow CCEP’s D2C offering at speed, with potential for international expansion in the future.

·  A partnership with Mondelez International, whose global portfolio of household names includes Cadbury, Toblerone, Oreo and Philadelphia, to deliver personalisation for Toblerone. Following the UK launch, there is scope to expand the technology into further Mondelez International brands and Toblerone markets.

·   Launch of a UK site for ZYN, a nicotine pouch brand owned by Swedish Match, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of smoke-free products. THG Ingenuity is responsible for trading, marketing, strategy and operations as part of a 10-year end-to-end service partnership, with ambition to roll out the launch into multiple territories. 

·  Partnering with William Grant & Sons (“WG&S”), the independent distillers with a global reach, to launch Clinkspirit.com, a new e-commerce platform that gives consumers direct access to award-winning spirit brands and content. THG Ingenuity has collaborated with WG&S to create the entire Clink* brand, utilising the strategic expertise of THG Studios to launch in the UK.

·   A long-term partnership to provide a complete end-to-end service including trading, marketing, strategy and operations for the new L’OR Japan D2C site, part of JDE Peet’s portfolio of world leading coffee and tea brands.

The rapidly building awareness of Ingenuity on a global scale has led to keynote speaker participation at industry conferences hosted by technology peers and consultancies including Facebook, Yandex, KPMG, PwC and Citi.   

In order to expand the Group’s cloud based hosting capabilities, it has invested £1.4m for a c. 9.4% equity stake in Civo, a highly innovative, cloud technology business. This investment will provide THG with a public cloud product and technology which makes cloud based hosting simpler to deploy and materially more efficient, enabling THG Ingenuity to get significantly more operating leverage from its existing server infrastructure. In addition to the equity stake in Civo, THG is also acquiring a perpetual license to Civo’s technology and a call option that gives THG the right (but not the obligation) to acquire further tranches of the business as it scales in a highly disruptive and rapidly growing market.

SoftBank collaboration

Current and pipeline collaborations between THG Ingenuity and SoftBank portfolio companies, range from THG offering both end-to-end Ingenuity Commerce services and single service headless components of the Ingenuity stack, to bolting on enhancements to Ingenuity from across the SoftBank portfolio in marketing, payments, B2B financing, and fulfilment.

·    Development of FIR/ST (“Fulfilment & Inventory Retrieval / Storage Technology”): a single, cross-border productised software solution formed through the integration of AutoStore’s proprietary Automated Storage Recovery System (“AS/RS”), with headless elements of THG Ingenuity’s proprietary infrastructure, specifically: Voyager, the Warehouse Management System (“WMS”), THG Delivered, the Global Courier Platform (“GCP”), and THG Orbit, the Global Customer Service Platform (“CSP”).

There is no comparable product available in the market, addressing all FMCG product categories across a single unified distribution platform, providing a single view to optimise end-to-end WMS, AS/RS, GCP and CSP.

The benefits of developing this single, headless product include;

  • the fastest AS/RS with 99.6% uptime;
  • reduced fulfilment cost per unit;
  • increased implementation speed;
  • reduced integration risks;
  • global courier reach and international customer service; and
  • greater accountability given it is an end-to-end fulfilment, courier and customer services software solution.

FIR/ST will connect to all major 3rd party platforms globally, bringing these benefits to the entire addressable fulfilment market.

FIR/ST will go live in H1 2022 initially supporting Ingenuity merchants in the US and thereafter, Ingenuity clients globally via the Group’s global, 3.6m sq. ft. distribution centre roll out in 2022 and 2023 in addition to supporting SoftBank portfolio companies (where applicable). 

·    In one of its first major partnerships with a Vision Fund II portfolio company, THG Ingenuity has partnered with Clearco, one of the world’s largest funders of e-commerce businesses, to offer corporate clients the opportunity to finance their Ingenuity Commerce expansion. Through the innovative new partnership, brands will be able to pursue accelerated international digital transformation programmes through Ingenuity, without traditional funding constraints.

·    Freight technology provider Flexport has agreed a partnership with Ingenuity to offer THG brands and Ingenuity clients data-driven supply chain visibility to maximise efficiencies across global logistics and trade.

·    THG Beauty is integrated with Contentsquare to optimise its e-commerce site content delivery. Contentsquare’s digital experience analytics cloud helps companies understand hidden customer behaviour, and use those insights to deliver an enhanced customer experience, increased website conversion and higher customer lifetime value.

·    US delivery provider Gopuff is renowned for its 30-minute D2C local delivery service, powering global US-based grocery and CPG clients. Initially the partnership with THG will be focused on extending delivery options for Myprotein customers in the US, with the brand to be stocked in 80 local US fulfilment sites, enabling customers in select cities to have Myprotein delivered within an hour of order. The partnership will also support 3rd party Ingenuity merchants from 2022.

SBM Option Agreement and divisional separation progress

Further to the announcement on 10 May 2021 where the Group committed to undertaking a review of its corporate structure as part of the intended separation of its key trading divisions, the Board is pleased to confirm that progress remains ahead of schedule for the separation in 2022.  To deliver the separations, the Group originally guided to 15 calendar months from announcement, with a right to extend by up to a further 6 calendar months where reasonably required.

The anticipated completion of the divisional separation work in H1 2022 will enable THG to complete SBM’s investment into Ingenuity for a minority 19.9% stake. Whilst immediately following the exercise of the SBM option Ingenuity will be a majority owned subsidiary of THG, the Group retains ultimate discretion and flexibility to determine any subsequent IPO, or other structural option for Ingenuity, with the objective to maximise value for all shareholders.

Furthermore, completion of the separation work will enable a listing of THG Beauty during 2022. This commitment reflects the continued strong organic growth of the division and its position as the industry’s digital strategic partner globally, its growing US footprint, expanding global social media presence (>3 million Instagram followers) and vertically integrated model. A separate listing for THG Beauty will position the business very well to focus investment in its key growth areas, including own-brand portfolio expansion. The decision of whether to separately list THG Nutrition and the timing will remain under consideration.

The commercial details of the long-term, arm’s-length Ingenuity contracts with both THG Beauty and THG Nutrition will be disclosed during H1 2022.

The option is a derivative instrument and as a consequence of the market value being considered greater than the price to be paid by SBM, a non-cash charge has been incurred within Finance costs.

Outlook and guidance

Guidance is in line with the Group’s statement on 4 August 2021 on a constant FX basis.

·    Trading remains strong and we are confident in delivering FY 2021 Group revenue growth of between +38% to +41% on a constant currency basis (reported growth of +35% to +38%).

·    Margin guidance remains unchanged at stable adjusted EBITDA margins on a constant FX basis, before taking into consideration the dilutive full year contribution of Dermstore (which is expected to be in line with Group margins by the end of 2022). 

·    FY 2021 capital expenditure guidance for the Group is between 10.0% to 12.0% of Group revenue (vs 14.8% in 2020). The continued level of expenditure is driven by an acceleration of growth plans to support our own brands, Ingenuity clients and reflecting investment in acquired assets.

·     The Group continues to take a highly selective and disciplined approach to M&A, with strategic priorities remaining beauty brands, and assets that extend the Group’s vertical integration, and expand its brand building and digital commerce activities. The capital raise in May 2021 provided >$1 billion to support the Group’s successful M&A strategy, with a select number of value-enhancing opportunities under evaluation. 

Capital Markets Event

·    The Group plans to host its inaugural Capital Markets Event on 12 October 2021, presenting its end-to-end technology platform, Ingenuity.

Analyst and investor conference call

THG will today host a conference call and webcast for analysts and investors at 9.00am (UK time) via the following links:

To register for the webcast, please use the below link:

https://webcasting.brrmedia.co.uk/broadcast/611a66f4c97de6636c2d9577

To ask questions, you must dial in via conference line using the below details:

·      Room number: 6175509

·      UK dial in: +44 (0)330 336 9126

·      US dial in: +1 929 477 0402

For further information please contact: 

Investor enquiries – THG PLC 
Kate GrimoldbyInvestor.Relations@thg.com
 Media enquiries: 
Powerscourt – Financial PR adviserTel: +44 (0) 20 7250 1446
Victoria Palmer-Moore/Nick Dibden/Nick Haynsthg@powerscourt-group.com
 THG PLC Viki Tahmasebi   Viki.tahmasebi@thg.com
  

ENDS

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