NEWS17 August 2009

Research owner Photon looking to raise AUS$115m

Asia Pacific Financials

AUSTRALIA— Marketing services house Photon Group, owner of research agencies The Leading Edge and Jigsaw and strategy and planning firms Naked and Bellamy Hayden, is looking to raise AUS$115 million through a share offering.

Executive chairman Tim Hughes (pictured) said the group wants to use the cash to pay debts and strengthen its balance sheet after its latest results were affected by redundancy costs and a tough June quarter.

Group-wide, revenue for the year ending 30 June was up 7% to $440.6m and underlying net profit rose 30% to $28.2m. Net profit after tax, however, fell 1% to $21.4m.

Gross revenue in the strategic intelligence division, which houses Photon Group’s research activities, rose from $75.4m in 2008 to $102m. Net revenue jumped to $75.7m from $53m.

Research revenue fell as clients “halted testing ideas for new products, services and marketing strategies” and research fees in Australia fell 15% over the course of the year.

The Naked strategic consulting business fared better and “over-performed” in the US and UK thanks in part to new contract wins with Kimberly Clark, Adidas, SC Johnson and Ameriprise.