Digitas Posts Profitable Year

NEW YORK Digitas completed its first full year of profitability as a public company in 2003.

The 23-year-old shop, which went public in March 2000, reported 2003 net income of slightly less than $17 million, or 24 cents per share. That is an improvement over a 2002 net loss of more than $40 million, or 65 cents per share. Revenue for 2003 declined 3 percent to $311.8 million from $321 million.

For the fourth quarter, Digitas recorded net income of slightly more than $8 million, or 11 cents per share, versus a net income of $1.7 million, or 3 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Digitas posted a 4 percent revenue increase to $53.4 million in Q4 from $51.4 million during the same time the year earlier. Year-over-year total revenue for the quarter, including reimbursable pass-through expenses, dropped 11 percent to about $82 million from approximately $92 million.

“We expect this discipline and these investments [in people, capabilities and existing client relationships] to provide momentum in the year ahead,” said Digitas chief executive David Kenny.

The shop has already scored once in 2004, adding a share of America Online’s estimated $55-60 million interactive account a week ago [Adweek Online, Jan. 23].

The Boston-based independent, which provides digital and direct services for clients like American Express and AT&T Wireless, projected fee revenue of $58-60 million for the first quarter and earnings per share of 8-10 cents. For 2004, Digitas forecasted fee revenue of $225-245 million and earnings per share of 32-42 cents.

Digitas shares were trading on the Nasdaq today at $11.13, up 64 cents or 6 percent. The stock’s 52-week high is $13.24 and the 52-week low is $2.99.