Osprey shrugs off pounds 5m loss

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OSPREY Communications, the advertising company where former Dorland chairman Jack Rubins took control last May, said it was trading profitably despite sinking pounds 5m into the red in the 16 months to 30 September, writes Russell Hotten.

The figures were dominated by a dreadful first 12 months in which Osprey reported a pre-tax deficit of pounds 4.25m against a pounds 336,000 loss. But Mr Rubins, who became chairman and chief executive after reversing his SMS Communications agency into Osprey, said the business had returned to profit.

In an upbeat statement he said: 'Since June the group has structured itself to succeed in today's demanding trading conditions. Substantial account wins and increasing profitability confirm the progress we have made. Supported by a significantly enhanced balance sheet I expect the future to show continuing improvement and growth.'

The dividend is passed, but shares shrugged off the disappointment with a 2.5p rise to 35p. The figures included exceptional write-offs of pounds 4.3m for the elimination of goodwill and associated costs from disposals.

Cash from disposals and a pounds 1.5m rights issue in June enabled Osprey to reduce borrowings from pounds 2.3m to pounds 800,000. The balance sheet has also been strengthened by the conversion of pounds 500,000 loan notes into ordinary shares. Net assets are now more than pounds 700,000.