Tuesday 21 November 2017

Ask.fm records losses of €4.9m as revenue hit

Doug Leeds who led buyout
Doug Leeds who led buyout

Gordon Deegan

Revenues at the firm that now runs social media website, ask.fm last year plummeted by almost half to €5.5m.

US online giant ask.com purchased the Latvian-based ask.fm business in 2014 after the business was engulfed in controversy under its previous Latvian owners.

Two Irish teenagers - Ciara Pugsley (15) from Leitrim and Donegal schoolgirl Erin Gallagher (13) - took their own lives in 2012 after being subjected to cyber-bullying via the website.

Before it moved to Dublin, ask.fm officials met the Department of Children and officials were assured that the new owners were taking steps to "significantly improve" child protections on the website.

Parental groups cautiously welcomed the social network's steps in providing better protection for children and reassurance for parents.

Ask.fm now has a safety advisory board and enhanced safety features with the firm stating that safety remains the top priority for the site.

Its second set of accounts just filed by Ask.fm Europe Ltd with the Companies Office, show that the business clocked up operating losses of €4.9m last year.

However, the company recorded a pre-tax profit of €4.6m due an inter-company loan of €9.5m being partially off-set by interest payments of €593,802.

Revenues declined by 48pc from €10.4m in the prior 14-month period to €5.5m last year.

The company had net liabilities of €2.5m last December and confirmed it "has not operated profitably to date in 2017".

A note attached to the accounts states that the firm is wholly dependent upon the financial support of its creditors, in particular the support of its fellow subsidiary companies.

The directors state that based on forecasts it will achieve break-even in December and through 2018.

The directors have identified a number of new initiatives in an effort to enhance revenue generation by increasing its current user base though target marketing and development of new applications within its current market offering.

The directors' report also discloses that in April 2016, the company entered into a workforce reduction programme in an effort to reduce its cost base.

Irish Independent

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