After a period of intense cost cutting, performance marketing network, Tradedoubler, looks to be gathering momentum. Its latest financial figures for the first quarter of 2013 revealed operating profit was up from 14.9 SEK million (M) from 12.6 SEK M in 2012.

Tradedoubler’s EBITDA, another good measurement of a business’s profitability, displayed signs of recovery. Its year-on-year growth from 18.1 SEK M to 19.1 SEK M were, according to president and chief executive officer (CEO), Rob Wilson, attributed to increased control on operating costs.

Wilson spoke of the big task he was able to oversee in making changes to Tradedoubler across the latter half of 2012. He maintained that the hard work had been done and the company could look forward.

“It was a complete restructure of the business, but completed with relatively few bumps in the road,” Wilson explained. “We think we’re in a position to take the company forward on a more appropriate cost base.”

Net Sales Struggling

Net sales were down from 640 SEK M in Q1 2012 to 527 SEK M in 2013, the result of losing major performance marketing clients in early 2012. Tradedoubler insists it’s beginning to make gains in this area with a number of big wins already in Q1 this year.

The UK and Ireland was the biggest contributor to the slump in sales. Year-on-year, both markets dropped by almost 50 SEK M from 174 SEK M in January to March last year, to 125.5 SEK M in the first three months of this year.

Whereas most other regions managed to eke out some increases in EBITDA, the UK and Ireland again demonstrated itself as a particularly tough market. The figure for the region was close to being halved year-on-year from 12.4 SEK M to 5.7 SEK M in 2013.

Tradedoubler’s Competition

When asked about Tradedoubler’s most important competitor, Wilson, rather tellingly in light of the UK and Ireland’s somewhat saturated market, drew attention to a UK-founded technology provider and not one of mainland Europe’s other big networks.

“I suppose the strongest player across Europe is probably Performance Horizon, but they’re limited to the UK,” Wilson said. “There isn’t really anybody else delivering with any level of capability in any of the other European markets.”

Tradedoubler’s outlook alluded to various evidence of growth in performance marketing across its countries of operation, including the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s own study in the UK. It also repeated cost forecasts from the end-of-year report 2012 as being SEK 35-37 M per month during 2013.