Digital marketing group Next 15 Communications has reported a first half revenue rise of 6 per cent increase to £91.6m and that it has had to write-off £1.9m due to the 'complex fraud' it discovered in the San Francisco office of Bite Communications.
Releasing its half year figures ending 31 July 2012, the company has reported an increase in revenue from last year’s total of £40.8m, while its pre-tax profit climbed by 14 per cent to £9.3m.
The results had previously been delayed as a result of the company discovering what it described as 'complex fraud' within Bite North America, believed to be a case of "embezzlement".
The fraud investigation led to the company writing off £1.8m as an exceptional item, as the result of "unrecoverable assets and unrecorded liabilities". A further write off of £0.1m also expected to be written off, with the FBi still investigating.
The figures cover the acquisition of an 80 per cent stake in German communications companies Trademark Public Relations and Trademark Consulting, as well as the restructuring of its UK consumer PR business, expected to cost £0.4m.
The final 20 per cent of digital agency Bourne was also acquired by Next 15, making it a wholly owned subsidy.
Next 15 chairman Richard Eyres, commented: "Next 15, a worldwide digital communications group, is pleased to report that it has continued to trade well with strong operational performances from almost every part of the Group. This success has been underpinned by the Group's early transition from traditional PR to digital and social marketing services. As I reported last year, this strategy is giving the Group access to new revenue streams and helping drive growth in many global markets. The transition is being driven both through organic expansion and targeted acquisitions. While the global economy continues to struggle, Next 15 continues to deliver revenue and earnings growth with a strong balance sheet.”
Last week, the company announced that Andy Cunningham, president of Bite Communications North America, was to become its next CEO from the beginning of 2013, taking over from Clive Armitage.
The company has said that Armitage is set to begin a new company within the Next 15 group, which will include data and commercial insight delivery.