Spark loses director and cuts costs

NewMedia Spark executive director, Tony Sarin has left the company to become chief executive officer of Numerica Group. His departure follows the firm’s announcement of cost reduction plans aiming to bring down central organisational costs from over £7 million per annum to £4 million. Among the plans to reduce expenditure are proposed redundancies at Spark’s main London office; postponement of the firm’s plans to set up in India; tight control of costs in Spark’s other European offices and the charging of a higher proportion of costs to portfolio companies utilising Spark’s facilities.

Sarin will maintain his involvement with Spark by continuing to work with the team as a non-executive director. He joined Spark last July following the firm’s acquisition of, of which he was founder and chief executive officer.

Spark’s cost cutting measures are being taken in the light of the continuing difficult trading conditions in technology markets worldwide that are showing little sign of imminent improvement . Preliminary results for the year ended 31 March saw Spark’s net asset value plunge some 45%. The firm has been keeping tight control over costs in its portfolio companies for some months and is now tightening the reigns on its own activities. Further investment by SPARK in its present portfolio and subsidiary companies is not expected to exceed £10 million over the next 12 months.

Spark recently announced that it would acquire all of the outstanding shares of, the international financial portal (see evcj July/August, page16). It is hoped that the merger will help improve Spark’s net asset value with access to a new portfolio of investments.