Communisis hails international sales growth in interims

Communisis has highlighted its growing international sales in its interim results for the six months to 30 June 2012.

Overseas revenues at the Leeds-headquartered marketing services provider grew from 3% of its £97.8m turnover in the first half of 2011, to 5% of its £112.6m turnover in the current half-year.

Chief executive Andy Blundell highlighted one FMCG client in particular for which it has recently expanded its client relationship from Germany and Italy, to include Austria, Switzerland and France, with other countries expected to follow.

Pre-tax profit at the group fell marginally from £3m in H1 2011 to £2.7m this year, although operating profit excluding exceptional items was up 22% from £3.6m to £4.4m.

In terms of client mix, Communisis said that in the 12 months to 30 June 2012 the proportion of total sales from the financial services sector had further reduced from 57% to 48%, which the firm said was the result of growth in sectors such as FMCG, retail and telecommunications.

Blundell said that the swing had not been the result of the loss of any clients on the financial services side and stressed that "by its nature financial services will remain a critical segment for us".

In direct mail, the company is continuing to focus on specialist project work to counter price and margin pressure and Blundell highlighted the fact that Communisis was now working with all of the top 10 building societies in Britain.

Blundell said that the changing dynamics of the increasingly de-regulated mailing market would provide opportunities to work on behalf of the firm's clients with both DSA providers and Royal Mail and that he did not consider the latter's recent application of controversial reversion charges to present a risk to the sector.

"We have had a very senior level, very positive meeting with Royal Mail around the reversion charges and our position is that once we understand their requirement then we'll make sure we play by the rules - we're not going to sit and moan about it," he added.

Following the group's recent acquisition spree, which has seen it add Kieon, Yomego and The Garden Marketing to its Intelligence Driven Communications division, Communisis has now announced that it is consolidating all of its client-facing software into one platform, called Mantl.

Similarly, all back-office functions are being combined into a single platform, called Skyline. Blundell said that this would be a multi-year programme that was likely to cost "seven figures" over the lifetime of the project, but that this was already factored into the firm's budget.


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