M&C Saatchi shares to be suspended after account deadline missed

M&C Saatchi will see its shares suspended after it missed a deadline to file its accounts, which were rocked by an accounting scandal last year.

The ad giant, led by David Kershaw, insists it is otherwise healthy with today’s unaudited results for the year to December 2019 offering some hope.

Revenues were up 2.4% to £256 million. It has cash on hand of £56 million. The full results will be complete within “a matter of weeks”.

The accounting issues largely revolve around declaring revenue before it was actually due. The shares today fell 2p to 56p.

Peel Hunt said: “The company shares will be suspended from tomorrow as it misses its filing deadline. The unaudited numbers offer some consolation, and comments on current trading suggest resilience in the face of the pandemic. Net cash is similarly reassuring. But a sensible estimate of value for this company feels some way off.”

Kershaw, the CEO, said: “The past 12 months have been hugely challenging for the Company and its shareholders. I would like to personally thank all of our people for their dedication, commitment and hard work during this time, particularly since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is reflected by our resilient performance so far in 2020.

“Since the accounting misstatements first came to light last year, we have worked tirelessly to ensure we never find ourselves in this position again. We have strengthened our finance team, set about transforming our financial controls, and rebuilt our Board with the appointment of four independent Non-Executive Directors.

M&C has a storied place in the history of the Soho ad industry. It was born from the fallout of a shareholder revolt at Saatchi & Saatchi in the 90s.

The brothers Maurice and Charles Saatchi started the new business. M&C was the agency behind various Conservative party campaigns, including the infamous “New Labour, New Danger,” ads.