LONDON—Communications holding company Chima—parent of Bell Pottinger, Good Relations, Harvard and several other U.K. public relations brands—this week reported a 19 percent increase in its full-year pre-tax profit and particularly strong performance at its public relations and sports marketing units.
"We think that these results demonstrate the relative resilience of the public relations retainer-based business model, and whilst we expect both PR and advertising to come under some pressure this year, on a 2009 PE of 3.4 times, we believe this is more than priced in," securities firm Numis Securities said in a note.
The company acknowledged that the outlook for 2009 remained uncertain, but said that so far the impact on businesses of the economic downturn has been offset by growth in other businesses.
For the year ended December 31, pre-tax profit was £16.3 million ($22.45 million), compared with £13.8 million a year earlier. Operating income was up 13 per-cent year-on-year to £61.3 million, while revenue from continuing operations rose 34.3 per cent to £277.4 million.
"The company's strategy for 2009 is to control costs, generate cash and focus on new business,” says chairman Lord Bell. “We are concentrating on the growth opportunities we have which are mainly in international, sports marketing, digital, geopolitical and public sector work."