First Protocol vows substantial growth in 2011 after 'flat' two years

First Protocol is plotting 'substantial growth' this year after winning new clients and planning expansion in Asia.

First Protocol plans growth
First Protocol plans growth

The agency is planning to open an Asia office in the coming 12 months through an acquisition in either Hong Kong or Singapore, said chief executive Richard Waddington, and will send one or two UK staff to join the team.

Operating loss

Meanwhile, Waddington forecast that First Protocol’s profits would be up to the end of September 2011 after it suffered a small operating loss of around £5,000 across the group to the end of September 2010.

Gross profit was £2.163m to the end of September 2010, slightly up from £2.107m the previous year. Shareholder funds are £900,000.

Return to profit

"2009 and 2010 have been flat years in terms of building gross profit," said Waddington. "We had an operating loss across the group because we have re-invested in research and looked at our office expansion. There is no question we will return to profit in a fairly substantial way this year."

The group includes First Protocol Inc, the US arm of the business, and First Protocol Event Management in the UK.

US expansion

The agency has offices in London and New York, and launched a new Los Angeles base this year.

According to First Protocol’s abbreviated annual accounts, filed at Companies House, the agency has added 15 new clients and secured repeat contracts with existing clients.

Five-year strategy

As part of its five-year strategy, First Protocol is planning to increase market share and is undergoing a "concerted sales and marketing drive".

"We set a strategy at the beginning of 2008, which is when the markets were starting to crash," explained Waddington. "We have successfully expanded our footprint, increased market share and grown our service offering."

Clients include BNP Paribas, Thomson Reuters and Fresenius.

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