Grayling Growth Helps Spur Huntsworth To 1.6% Rise In 1H 2011
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Grayling Growth Helps Spur Huntsworth To 1.6% Rise In 1H 2011

Huntsworth, which owns PR agency brands Grayling, Red Consultancy and Citigate, reported that revenues grew by 1.6 percent in 1H 2011.

Arun Sudhaman

LONDON--Huntsworth, which owns PR agency brands Grayling, Red Consultancy and Citigate, reported that revenues grew by 1.6 percent in the first half of this year.

Of the group’s four brands, Grayling led the way, increasing by 2.6 percent. Huntsworth Health (+2.1 percent) and Red Consultancy (+1.8 percent) also grew, but Citigate declined by 2.5 percent.

The results come after Huntsworth delivered flat revenue growth in 2010, following a major restructuring of the business.

Grayling, which accounts for 49 percent of Huntsworth revenues, experienced a strong second quarter of 2011, growing by 5.6 percent. The firm has won a string of new accounts, particularly multi-market retainers. The win of the British Airways account in 38 countries at the end of Q1 was followed by the 17 country win of DHL in Q2, a relationship which has now been extended into North America.

In addition, Grayling recently secured global PR duties for DEK, and cocoa/chocolate player Barry Callebaut. Other notable wins include Ace European Group; the Swedish Ministry of Finance; BAE Systems in the Middle East; and Bordeaux Wines in Belgium.

“Although these larger clients attract bigger budgets, and will provide greater revenue visibility moving forward, they involve both protracted pitch and procurement processes and delays in ramping up programmes, in some cases up to six months from the date of win,” said Huntsworth chief executive Lord Peter Chadlington.

The Red Consultancy continues to be hampered by the slowdown in public sector spending, while Citigate’s public policy division and Asian offices have found trading challenging.

Overall, global and multi-office business accounted for 46 percent at Huntsworth, compared to 33 percent in 2010. "Our strategy to drive growth through global and multi-office revenues is providing real momentum and consequently we are confident of reaching our targeted like-for-like growth rate of seven percent during 2011,” said Chadlington.

Operating margins before central costs in the first half were 17.8 percent, down from 20.6 percent in the same period in 2010.

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