Keith Sadler, the new CEO of Ashcroft-controlled political publishing combine Dods plc, has written to reassure employees this morning:
Our results for the 15 months to 31 March 2013 were posted on Friday. The underlying numbers were exactly in line with the guidance we had given to the market the previous year. In fact our cash position was better at £7.0 million.
Our underlying profitability was £0.4 million on turnover of £18.8 million. Guido will point to the loss of which the majority is a non-cash impairment charge (possibly he should worry about why he comes second to Politics Home on the Parliamentary estate).
We have been investing heavily in our technology platforms and continue to do so. This will ensure we will be the market leading political communications and engagement business.
We are adapting to the market much faster and that is down to the talented people who work here. Your hard work will show improved results in the future. This year has begun in line with our budget and we will, together, improve the results of Dods.
I would like to thank you all for the hard work and dedication you show. Any questions please feel free to come and ask me.
Actually out of the £10.2 million loss the non-cash impairment was a £6.9 million write-off of goodwill. The improvement in the cash position was entirely down to a shareholder injection of a much needed £10 million. It would not be a surprise to Guido to see Dods delist from the London Stock Exchange once the acquisition spree is finished. The firm has not paid a dividend since 2010 and the share price has fallen 75% over that period.
Keith Sadler, the Dods CEO, suggests Guido should be worried about how PoliticsHome.com is more popular in parliament than Order-Order.com. It is true in so much that it has more page-impressions, rather than actual readers, on the parliamentary estate. Further investigation reveals this is because it is a specialist politics aggregator with a user-unfriendly redesign generating more links to click on – Dods boast that the total number of page impressions has increased ten-fold since the recent redesign. That ten-fold increase is unfortunately not reflected in a proportionate increase in users. PoliticsHome still has narrow appeal, Order-Order.com has some six times as many readers, which ensures its profitability…
Guido’s understanding is that PoliticsHome and Total Politics magazine remain loss making. Inevitably the synergies between the various Dods titles will see them integrated if not actually merged, Keith Sadler is a savvy, sharp businessman and knows revenue is vanity, profit is sanity. Order-Order.com has been more profitable than Dods for years…