Strong progress in a challenging environment

Next Fifteen Communications Group plc (“Next Fifteen” or “the Group”), the global public relations consultancy group, today announces strong results for the six months to 31 January 2009.

Financial Highlights:

  • Revenues increased by 10% to £33.5 million (2008: £30.4 million)
  • Adjusted* profit before tax increased by 15% to £3.55 million (2008: £3.08 million) (see note 3)
  • Adjusted* pre-tax profit margins improved to 10.6% (2008: 10.1%) (see note 2)
  • Adjusted* earnings per share increased by 11% to 4.47p (2008: 4.01p) (see note 7)
  • Interim dividend maintained at 0.45p per share
  • Net debt of £0.8m with no material earn-out obligations remaining

* before one-off costs – see note 3

Corporate Progress:

  • Acquired remaining stake in Panther Communications Group Limited, parent of Lexis, making the agency a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Group
  • Expanded relationship with a number of clients including IBM, AMD and Cisco and won new retained clients including Skype, SanDisk and Intuit Inc.

Commenting on the results, Chairman of Next Fifteen, Will Whitehorn, said: “We are operating well in a challenging environment as can be seen by these results. Over 80% of our revenues are derived from retainer relationships with clients that include many of the world’s leading technology companies including IBM, Cisco, Microsoft and Xerox as well as non-technology businesses such as Coca Cola and Unilever.

“As anticipated, we did see a reduction in revenue levels in January and the Group has taken resolute steps in response to these changes in its markets as demonstrated by reducing headcount and operating expenses. We remain optimistic about the medium- and long-term prospects for growth. The Group’s strategy remains focused on improving margins and generating organic growth but looking to supplement this with targeted acquisitions that add to the capability of our existing PR businesses. During the period the Group has been looking to make use of its strong balance sheet and has been pursuing several small acquisitions and hopes to be able to announce at least one of these in the coming months.”