Digitas Posts Strong First Quarter

NEW YORK Digitas on Wednesday posted strong first-quarter results that include a 5 percent increase in revenue from a year ago as well as a profit of $2.6 million.

The independent relationship marketing company in Boston recorded net income for the quarter of $2.6 million, or 4 cents per share, a 270 percent improvement over net income of $700,000, or one cent a share in the year-ago period. In Q4, Digitas had a net income of $1.7 million, or 3 cents per share.

The Boston-based company, which provides digital and direct services for clients like AT&T and General Motors, also said it expects earnings per share between 3-5 cents and fee revenue of $50-52 million for the second quarter.

Fee revenue totaled $52.3 million for the first quarter, up 5 percent compared to $49.6 million a year ago and 2 percent from $51.4 million in Q4 2002. Total revenue, including reimbursable pass-through expenses, was $79.2 million for the first quarter. That compares to $69 million in Q1 2002 and $92.3 million in Q4 2002.

The shop, which employs about 1,100 people in Boston, Chicago, London, New York and San Francisco, continues to anticipate fee revenue of $200-220 million. But, Digitas chief operating and financial officer Jeff Cote cautioned, “achieving the high end of the range would require an accelerated spend rate by our clients in the second half of the year.”

Digitas shares closed Wednesday on the Nasdaq at $4, down 25 cents or 5.9 percent. The stock’s (DTAS) 52-week high is $5.15 and 52-week low is $2.