News & Press

Trading Update

2nd February 2009

Hasgrove plc (AIM: HGV, ‘Hasgrove’ ‘the Group’), the pan European marketing and communications services group, is providing a trading update for the year ended 31 December 2008. The Group had a strong year, despite the challenging economic conditions, and expects to report trading in line with the Board’s expectations.

Hasgrove has experienced growth in all parts of its business with the integration of recently acquired assets progressing well. The Board expects to complete the outstanding integration programme by September 2009. The Group’s strength continues to be based upon the diversity of its operations both in terms of discipline and geographical exposure. More than 50% of Group revenue is now generated outside the UK as a consequence of both UK exports and businesses based in continental Europe.

Amaze plc, which offers a broader range of marketing and technology services , has had a very successful first year, both in terms of profitability and integration with many examples of successful joint projects. This was achieved despite the three original businesses only being merged mid way through the year. 2009 will see the launch of the Amaze brand in Continental Europe with the establishment of an office in Brussels.

During the second half of the year, Interel, the leading European Corporate Affairs consultancy focusing on public affairs and crisis and issues management, won a number of major client engagements. This was achieved partly as a result of the consequences of the global financial crisis and opportunities in the growing area of association management, where the Group will continue to invest this year. Odyssey Interactive, which is part of the Public Affairs and Corporate Communications Division and supplies intranet software solutions, has continued its strong growth since joining the Group in September 2007. The launch of its fourth generation intranet software, Interact 4.0, is progressing well and represents a good opportunity in 2009 particularly in the public sector.
The Chase, the Group’s leading UK graphic design agency, has contributed with a strong performance this year including initiating the Group wide project with the Transport and Innovation Fund in the North West.
Despite continuing to tender for significant new contracts and maintaining a strong public sector emphasis, the Group is not immune from the current economic climate. A number of clients are reducing their 2009 marketing and corporate affairs budgets. The Board has already addressed this by cutting its operating costs and will continue to ensure the cost base remains in line with revenues.

Cash collection has been an important focus for the Group during the year. This has resulted in a notable improvement over the last six months which has enabled the Group to reduce net debt to £5.4m as at 31 December 2008 (30 June 2008: £7.5 million).

The Group expects to publish its preliminary results for the year to 31 December 2008 in April 2009.

Rod Hyde, Group Chief Executive, said:
“Despite the economic environment, we have reached a number of key milestones particularly with regard to the integration of Amaze. We are closely managing our costs and reducing our net borrowings.”