Investment and further global expansion in a challenging environment
Next Fifteen Communications Group plc (“Next Fifteen” or “the Group”), the global public relations consultancy group, today announces its preliminary results for the year ended 31 July 2009.
- Revenues increased by 3.6% to £65.4m (2008: £63.1m)
- Adjusted* profit before tax of £5.2m (2008: £6.6m) (see note 3)
- Profit before tax of £3.2m (2008: £5.5m)
- Staff costs controlled in line with revenue at 67.0% (2008: 67.3%)
- Adjusted* earnings per share of 6.48p (2008: 8.62p) (see note 7)
- Basic earnings per share of 3.67p (2008: 7.08p)
- Final dividend of 1.25p (2008: 1.25p) making a total dividend maintained at 1.7p
- Net cash of £1.8m (2008: £3.4m) (see note 8 )
* before one-off costs – see note 3
- Acquired remaining stake in Panther Communications Group Limited, parent of Lexis, in October 2008, making the agency a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Group
- Merged London-based Inferno with Bite in May 2009, to create strong client proposition
- In August 2009, acquired 100% of M Booth & Associates as a step to building global consumer PR brand
- In October 2009, entered into contracts to acquire 55% of Upstream Asia to give Bite a strong APAC regional offer
- In October 2009, entered into agreement to acquire a further 30% of 463 Communications, taking Next Fifteen’s ownership to 70%
- Expanded relationship with a number of clients including IBM, AMD and Cisco and won new retained clients including Skype, SanDisk, Intuit Inc and HP
- Planned launch of new digital communications agency
Commenting on the results, Chairman of Next Fifteen, Will Whitehorn, said:
“Next Fifteen has continued to make progress over the last year in developing the company’s global reach and breadth of client services against a difficult economic impact from which it has not been immune. During the year revenues continued to grow but profits were impacted by both restructuring and adverse currency movements. However, despite £4.5m of acquisition related payments the Group maintained a healthy net cash position well ahead of forecasts, closing the year with £1.8m of net cash. This was primarily due to very careful control of costs throughout the group.
We also made good progress with acquisitions which will put Next Fifteen in a very strong position to benefit from the upturn in the economy, when it fully materialises, and already our own client base is indicating a tentative recovery in both the tech sector and consumer spending. Since the year end we have completed the acquisition of M Booth in New York, which is a leading blue chip consumer PR agency in the US market whose business model is very complementary to that of Lexis in the UK. The Group has also entered agreements to buy Upstream Asia thus providing Bite with a very strong platform for the expansion of its brand in the Asia Pacific region.
In conclusion we face the year ahead with increased confidence of a continued recovery and a business well placed to benefit from the increasingly global client base we have carried on developing during the downturn.”