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Porta Communications keeps its foot on the pedal

Porta Communications keeps its foot on the pedal

Strong growth in the top line at Porta Communications (LON:PTCM) saw underlying earnings turn positive at the international marketing and communications firm.

Revenue in 2013 almost tripled to £24.4mln from £8.4mln in 2012, with most parts of the group showing strong growth throughout the year.

The year ended with a bang, with a number of significant contract wins, particularly on the public relations side, helped by a flood of companies coming to the stock market.

Headline underlying earnings (EBITDA), which excludes a number of one-off items such as start-up losses of £2.1mln (2012: -£1.5mln), totalled £1.4mln, versus a loss (LBITDA) the previous year of £522,000.

The group racked up positive EBITDA in the final quarter of £650,000, and that was after all exceptional costs, including start-up costs.

The company’s reported (statutory) loss almost halved to £2.5mln from £4.9mln the year before.

“The board does not believe that the size of the reported loss indicates the efforts and progress made over the year,” the company said.

During the year the number of clients in the public relations division grew from 150 in 2012 to 275 as at 31 December 2013.

As for the Marketing and Advertising division, the group said its Twenty20 Media Vision (TTMV) consumer advertising agency and the 21:12 financial services advertising agency require more critical mass to make a meaningful contribution, so some profitable bolt-on acquisitions that provide clear synergies are on the agenda for the company’s management.

TTMV had a very good start and finish to the year, despite incurring a bad debt in December and some very quiet trading months in the summer. 21:12 has taken longer than expected to make a positive contribution, but with a number of very big client wins, a substantial improvement is expected in 2014, the company said.

The first three months of 2014 have seen a continuation of the positive trends seen in the final quarter of 2013 and the board remains confident of delivering continued strong growth for the remainder of the current year.

"It has been a year of significant growth for the group,” declared David Wright, chief executive of Porta.

“We have expanded our market presence in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions as well as strengthening our existing businesses in the UK and Europe. With a number of new quality professionals welcomed during the year we are confident that the team we now have in place has the skills, experience, creativity and drive to deliver our ambitions," Wright added.

Shares in Porta were down 1.7% at 14.5p in the first half-hour of trading.

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