The Canadian listed marketing group MDC Partners boasted a 3.4% growth in revenue in the fourth quarter of last year, but buried in the small print was the news that it incurred a loss for the period of US$18.5 million.
The loss was influenced by an enormous jump in finance costs that was predicted here last October â€“ up from $3.8 million in the corresponding quarter of 2008 to $10.8 million in the latest period (see MDC Partners to pay high price for increased debt after refinancing).
Even without finance costs the group incurred an operating loss of $0.9 million in the quarter compared with an operating profit of $1.4 million in the corresponding period in 2008. Earnings per share fell into negative territory too at $0.67 per share.
The groupâ€™s results for the whole of 2009 were no better, with a post-tax loss attributable to shareholders of $18.3 million. Its operating margin for the year was a meagre 3.7% and net borrowings of $166 million exceeded shareholdersâ€™ funds by 78%.
All of this prompted chairman Miles Nadal to declare that â€ś2009 was an extraordinary yearâ€¦where we exceeded all of our key financial projections.â€ť Goodness knows how excited he would have got if the group had actually made a profit.
MDCâ€™s star agency is Crispin Porter & Bogusky.
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