Mobile Ad Giant Velti Is Running Out Of Cash

Things could hardly be worse at Velti, one of the planet’s largest mobile ad companies.

We reported today that it has been sued by shareholders, who allege that the company didn’t properly disclose the fact that it was having difficulty extracting payments from customers in Greece and Cyprus.

That came on the back of an awful Q2 2013 earnings report, which saw revenues decline 47 per cent to $US31.2 million.

A few weeks ago, we noted that Velti had become slow in paying its bills.

But a look at the company’s balance sheets and cashflow statements indicates worse may lie ahead: Absent a dramatic turnaround, or the influx of new capital, the company could be out of cash within about six months.

Velti began the year with $US36.5 million in cash on its balance sheet. It now has only $US19 million on hand.

It only kept that cash balance after taking on a net $US20 million in debt, according to its cashflow statements, and a $US22.6 million sale of stock. (We’re simplifying the picture here, ignoring for the moment operations, investing and various other activities that create or use cash, which is why these numbers reflect bottom line totals only.)

We sent a message to Velti requesting comment; we’d love to update this post if anyone at the company has a comment.

A terrible year so far

Velti began the year in seemingly great shape. It had nearly $US40 million in the bank.

But in Q1, Velti’s operations burned $US33 million in cash, and the company as a whole was cashflow negative by $US20 million. It ended the quarter with only $US16.4 million in the bank.

In Q2, the hemorrhaging was slowed: operations lost only $US7.3 million, and total cashflow turned positive, up $US3 million.

But that positive blip came because of the stock sale, not because of a turnaround in the business. Velti further cut costs in Q1 by axing 200 of its 1,125 staffers.

The company says it is undergoing a radical restructuring: It has engaged Deloitte to sell its Greek and Cypriot units, and another unnamed bank to offload Mobclix, its publisher ad network. CEO Alex Moukas believes he can get $US80 million in operating cost savings out of the company when he does done.

Let’s hope that works. Otherwise, more job losses at Velti look likely: It’s worth noting that the company’s revenues after paying third-party (media) costs were just $US8.8 million in Q2. Yet the company still has ~900 employees and a luxurious new corporate HQ in San Francisco. The company’s sales-per-head is ~$US10,000 per quarter — likely not nearly enough to support all its employees (although many are employed outside the U.S. where wage costs are lower).

Investors don’t expect much from Velti. The company’s stock traded at $US10+ last year. Today, it closed at 36 cents.

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