Next Fifteen's '09 revenues up, profit down 41%

LONDON: Next Fifteen reported revenues increased 3.6% to $107 million* from $103.2 in 2008, but profits are down 41% from last year.

LONDON: Next Fifteen reported revenues increased 3.6% to $107 million* from $103.2 in 2008, but profits are down from last year. Its adjusted margins are 8%, down from 10.4% last year. The company, which owns Text 100, Bite Communications, and OutCast Communications, released its 2009 preliminary financial results today, October 20.

Profit for the year was $3.7 million, compared to $6.3 million at the end of last year. Contributing to that 41% decrease were restructing costs and exchange currency rates. Tim Dyson, CEO of Next Fifteen told PRWeek the depressed profits are mostly from reorganization costs, like layoffs; costly lease-related issues stemmed from merging Bite Communications and Inferno in May; and exchange currency rates.

In North America, Next Fifteen conducted layoffs at Text 100, OutCast Communications, and Bite Communications in this year.

The holding company's billings are $126.5 million, up from $120.9 million last year.

In North America, Next Fifteen's losses this year have included Bite's anchor client Sun Microsystems during its Oracle merger. But Dyson said this was mitigated by wins with Hewlett-Packard and “others” that he declined to name. Text 100 also lost eBay and Philips business earlier this year, but OutCast's had notable wins with VMWare and Autodesk.

Next Fifteen also recently made a slew of acquisitions, but these revenues will be included in next year's figures because they came after the year end.

Dyson said two more acquisitions are expected in North America within this financial year. One of these would likely boost the capabilities of its planned Project Metal digital firm and the other would “strengthen business in North America.” Dyson declined to elaborate. Its net cash is $2.9 million.

In August, Next Fifteen acquired the New-York-based consumer agency M Booth & Associates to work with Next Fifteen's UK-based consumer agency Lexis PR to create a global agency. The holding company also acquired Upstream Asia to expand Bite's global reach and increased its investment in 463 Communications to make its ownership 70%.

Dyson added that he expected Next Fifteen to also grow in 2010 through cross-selling capabilities between its agencies and increasing social media and digital offerings.

In May, Next Fifteen was in talks with Chime and Huntsworth about possibly selling the company, but these discussions ended without a sale.

*Figures were converted to US dollars from the British Pound using Yahoo's currency converter.

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