NEWS19 June 2009

Optimisa reports £4.5m loss for 2008 and sells off overseas units

Financials UK

UK— Research agency owner Optimisa has revealed it is selling off its international subsidiaries as it reports a £4.46m loss for 2008.

The company’s revenue increased 55% from 2007 to £17.7m – in line with forecasts made in September 2008, but short of its original target of doubling the previous year’s sales.

It blamed the fall in profits on the “disappointing performance” of the EQ Group, which it acquired in 2007. The £4.46m loss represents a decrease of £5.46m from a profit of £1m in 2007. Adjusted profit before tax was down 13% to £1.19m.

Optimisa said today that its Asian business, set up by ex-Synovate man Damien Duhamel early last year, has been sold to its management for a nominal sum, and that its US operation NxtMove is up for sale. “Both companies are currently loss-making and their disposals will result in exceptional losses but will stop any further cash drain,” the firm said.

The company has called an AGM for 17 July at which shareholders will vote on de-listing the company from the AIM stock exchange. The £100,000-plus administrative costs of being listed on AIM now outweighed the benefits, the company said, and de-listing will help ensure it can abide by agreements with its bank, thus avoiding any rises in fees or interest rates.

Cost-cutting measures taken last year included a reduction in headcount from a peak of 209 to 187 at the end of the year. More jobs have gone across the group since then.

Last month Optimisa announced that CEO Simon Dannatt was stepping down into a client service role, to be replaced as chief executive by chairman Ron Littleboy (pictured).

Littleboy said in a statement today: “While business remains volatile for all operating units, our strategy of focusing our attention on our key clients, who themselves are experiencing significant challenges and both need and appreciate our help, seems to be paying off.” The group’s core business, KAE, and media analysis firm Report International, looked set to deliver “stronger results” for the rest of 2009, he said.