Next Fifteen Interim Revenues Up 4% Amid UK Consumer "Weakness"
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Next Fifteen Interim Revenues Up 4% Amid UK Consumer "Weakness"

Next Fifteen, which owns Text 100 and Bite Communications, has reported revenue growth of four percent for the first half of its 2012 fiscal year.

Arun Sudhaman

LONDON--Next Fifteen, the holding group which owns Text 100 and Bite Communications, has reported revenue growth of four percent for the first half of its 2012 fiscal year.

Revenues grew to £45.3m, compared to £40.8m one year earlier. Profit before tax increased by seven percent to £2.67m.

The group noted that results, which cover the six-month period to the end of January 2012, were affected by "weakness in its UK consumer business and in Europe". Next Fifteen owns UK consumer firm Lexis PR, while Bite and Text 100 both operate across continental Europe.

However, the group's dedicated digital agencies, which include Beyond and Bourne, continued to perform strongly, delivering organic revenue growth of 39 percent and adding new business from Novartis, EMI and Groupon. Digital and research now accounts for almost 10 percent of Next Fifteen's overall earnings.

US consumer business, led by M Booth, also saw growth, but the group's overall consumer revenues dipped by two percent because of weakness in the UK. In response, Next Fifteen has reported a restructuring charge of £400k in the current financial year, to "accelerate the transition to digital," admitting that its UK consumer firm has been "slower to adapt" to the shift towards digital marketing.

Next Fifteen also reported a positive performance from its corporate communications segment, where IR firm Blueshirt Group reeled in new business from Yelp and Angie's List, and benefited from a busy tech sector IPO market.

In geographic terms, Asia-Pacific delivered revenue growth of 14 percent, of which 10 percent was organic. The US and UK grew by nine percent and 13 percent respectively, or three percent organic growth in both cases.

The figures include Bite's acquisition of an 80 percent interest in two German businesses - Trademark Public Relations and Trademark Consulting. This, said Next 15 chairman Richard Eyre, "generated revenue growth on a reported basis in mainland Europe, but the underlying markets were flat, given mixed trading conditions."

"The group is seeing a strong flow of new business opportunities in all regions except some parts of
mainland Europe," added Eyre. "Overall, before the impact of the restructuring costs above, we anticipate profits for the full year 2012 to be modestly ahead of management expectations. Given this and the
opportunities now being generated by the group's focus on digital, the board is optimistic about the
outlook for the coming financial year that starts in August."

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