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This week: Adventis takes tough action, Imaginatik collaborates to accumulate, and Milestone achieves an, erm, milestone

Adventis (ATG 19.5p / 8.34m)

Marketing services group Adventis has taken some tough action. The group has traditionally had significant exposure to the property market ? which is great when housing transactions and property prices are on the rise, but a problem when they?re on the slide. Consequently, Adventis?s property activities had, to use the popular euphemism, to be „downsized?. But this has led to annualised cost savings of £1.3m, not bad for a group that brought in £5.6m of gross income in the six months to 30 June 2009 (H108: £6.0m). Basic EPS, meanwhile, fell by 33 per cent, to 1.12p. But management signalled its confidence in the future by maintaining the 0.23p interim dividend. And Adventis did see a more resilient performance in other areas. In particular, its pharmaceutical and healthcare business made good profits, as did the technology and telecoms business. In addition, chief executive Charles Phillpot said financial services activity had „recovered somewhat? from 2008 levels. Following £2.3m of earn-out payments related to earlier acquisitions, Adventis?s net debt increased to £1.8m, but management says the group has considerable unused bank facilities. As such, Adventis looks well-placed to fund future acquisitions at relatively distressed prices.

Earthport (EPO 38.25p / 33.86m)

The global payments utility announced that it has yet to receive payment of a £2m debt due from its Middle Eastern partner. The plan, announced in January, was that with the help of a local Middle Eastern partner the company would establish a sales office in the United Arab Emirates and that the partner would pay Earthport £2m. The sales office is intended to help Earthport to better service its existing Middle East sales pipeline and generate additional revenue streams from opportunities in the Middle East through its local presence. Now, however, the global economic slowdown has put the kibosh on the £2m payment. This follows on from the “strategic review”, which commenced in July and regarding which we?ve yet to have substantive news. An update is promised this week and we await this with interest. In the meantime, it is encouraging to note that, despite the setback from the Middle East, the company has recently announced some impressive contract wins and appears to be trading well at the operational level. An (earth)port…

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