Thirdforce confident of bouncing back despite slipping into the red

E-LEARNING company Thirdforce is expecting to show a solid performance this year, even though customer numbers are likely to dwindle and the company has slipped into the red.

The technology firm — which specialises in software learning tools for company training modules and educational institutions’ curriculums — yesterday reported a pre-tax loss of e2.67 million for 2008, which was down from an e80,000 profit in 2007.

An operating profit of e183,000 for that same year turned into an operating loss of e2.66m last year.

Likewise, a loss per share of 91c was made in 2008, compared with earnings per share of 10c the previous year. Group revenue, however, did rise by 18% to e26.9m last year — boosted significantly by the contribution of US-based company MindLeaders, which Thirdforce acquired in 2007.

Exchange rate weaknesses — specifically between sterling and euro and the US dollar and the euro — were the main reasons for the slip from profit to loss.

Thirdforce chairman Pat McDonagh is looking at staging a management buyout of the group along with the company’s chief executive Brendan O’Sullivan. “It is clear that 2009 will be a challenging year for all businesses worldwide.

“Currency volatility and market conditions have meant that many customers have rationalised their businesses and are cautious about expenditure in 2009,” said Mr McDonagh.

“Thirdforce customers will be no different. In the hardest hit sectors such as banking, some large customers will not renew their training programs. We have considered these business realities in our planning and the company expects to show a solid year in 2009 and trading for the first quarter has been in line with expectations,” he said.


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