Red Flag posts significant profit rise after ‘transformative’ year

Communications group locked in legal battle with Denis O’Brien reports 87.5% profit jump

Gavin O’Reilly: “Our American business started growing rapidly and that has accelerated in the first three quarters of 2018.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Gavin O’Reilly: “Our American business started growing rapidly and that has accelerated in the first three quarters of 2018.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Dublin-based communications and consulting group Red Flag recorded a substantial rise in profits last year as it continued to expand its business around the world.

Red Flag, led by former Independent News & Media (INM) executives Gavin O’Reilly and Karl Brophy, posted an 87.5 per cent rise in profits to €857,000 in what was its fourth full year of trading.

This increased its retained earnings to €2.1 million, according to accounts just filed with the companies office. The company reported revenues of €4.7 million in 2017, a figure that it expects will rise to €6 million this year.

The company had an average of 25 employees in 2017 compared with 15 the previous year. Directors’ remuneration declined from €432,874 in 2016 to €391,166.

Mr O’Reilly, Red Flag’s chairman, described last year as “transformative” for the company, which is looking to expand its footprint globally. “The size of our business doubled and our team worked on and won some of the biggest campaigns in the world for our clients,” Mr O’Reilly said.

“Our American business started growing rapidly and that has accelerated in the first three quarters of 2018.

“Since the year end, we’ve purchased a business in Singapore and opened up in Melbourne to bring our global office count to eight and we’re currently in talks on a number of other locations.

Organic growth

“We’ve brought in a new managing director for the Irish business in Deirdre Grant, and we’re already seeing very significant results in Ireland.

“As we look to the future we’re seeing further strong organic growth. We already service 38 clients, but we’re also looking at acquisitions that will further strengthen the offering for those clients.”

The company has offices in Dublin, Brussels, London, Melbourne, Paris, Singapore, Los Angeles and Washington DC.

Red Flag has been locked in a legal battle with Denis O’Brien since 2015 in relation to an allegedly damaging dossier about the businessman.

Separately, Mr Brophy is one of 19 “persons of interest” who were the subject of an alleged data breach dating from 2014 at INM that was paid for by a company controlled by Mr O’Brien, INM’s major shareholder.

This and other matters relating to INM are the subject of a wide-ranging investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, which recently secured High Court approval to appoint inspectors to the media group.