Shares in Bonhill Group plc (LON:BONH) tumbled after the What Investment and Information Age publisher and events organiser warned that its key acquisition from earlier in the year was hit by tougher trading in Hong Kong and the UK.
The AIM-listed outfit, formerly known as Vitesse Media, said the civil unrest in Hong Kong and weaker flows in the UK fund management industry were weighing on Last Word Media, the publisher of Portfolio Adviser and International Adviser acquired for £7.8mln in April.
Bonhill, which also runs the Women in IT and Women in Finance events series, said that while it had fired three Last Word executives and been reassured by “more normalised trading pattens” for its US business in the second half, the group was likely to fall short of full year targets.
Group chief executive Simon Stilwell has taken over day-to-day leadership of Last Word, with cost savings of around £1mln expected to be realised in 2020 from these changes.
The company said Stillwell’s widened control had “already accelerated collaboration with InvestmentNews and improved internal processes and communication”.
InvestmentNews, the US title bought in Augsut last year, had also seen big changes aimed at driving improved operating performance and growth, with the appointment of a new CEO this August followed by further senior hires and sales team changes.
House broker Shore Capital noted that revenue is expected to be flat year on year on a proforma basis at £25.4mln, below its previous estimate of £27.9mln, while underlying profits (EBITDA) for the year are now expected to come in roughly at £2.5m, well below previous guidance of circa £4.0mln.
Bonhill shares plunged 31% to 37.13p by mid-morning.