THG Plc shares plunged as much as 20 percent after the UK e-commerce company reported a wider loss in the first half and lowered its sales forecast, held back by inflationary pressures and its beauty division.
The business formerly known as The Hut Group had a £100 million ($125 million) first-half operating loss. Adjusted earnings were £50.1 million, just above the top end of its guidance, and the company maintained its forecast for full-year EBITDA.
THG, which runs hundreds of beauty and lifestyle websites, has had a bumpy ride since its 2020 listing due to governance concerns, price surges for whey — a key ingredient in its protein shakes — and speculation over the future profitability of its Ingenuity unit, which helps other retailers sell online. The company recently rejected an approach from Apollo Global Management Inc.
THG now forecasts a drop of as much as 5 percent in sales this year. The previous forecast was for low- to mid-single-digit growth.
Founded by chief executive officer Matthew Moulding, THG earlier this year began a strategic review of loss-making businesses in a bid to lower costs, streamline operations and focus on areas of profitability.
THG’s beauty division had a weak first half as it unwound some stock levels, but the company said its recent progress has been more encouraging.
The company’s strongest performer was its nutrition business, selling items like protein powders, which delivered a record first-half revenue performance. Revenue at the Ingenuity arm fell nearly 15 percent, but the company said it had made some key client wins in the first half.
The shares are down more than 90 percent from their 2021 peak.
THG, which is facing pressure from an activist investor, is forging ahead with a plan to shift to the premium segment of the London Stock Exchange. The company said its cash flow performance was improving.
By Thomas Mulier and Katie Linsell
THG Shares Fall After Failed Takeover Talks With Apollo
THG said that after a “short period of discussion” to give Apollo the chance to up its offer for the company, its board has unanimously decided to “terminate all discussions.”