LONDON—Huntsworth Group, parent of Citigate, Grayling, and The Red Consultancy, saw like-for-like revenue decline by about 0.5 percent in the first half of 2013, but remains bullish based on Chinese regulatory approval of a £36.5 million investment from China’s Blue Focus Group, which is expected to be completed in September.
Overall revenues were up by 0.8 percent to £88.9 million for the first half of the year, with operating profit of £12.4 million and pre-tax profit of £10.6 million, down slightly from the same period in 2012.
But in a statement, Huntsworth chief executive Lord Chadlington sounded an optimistic note: “Citigate, Red and Huntsworth Health are all performing well. Grayling, under new leadership, is beginning to see the benefits of the investment plan announced in April to stimulate top line growth and capitalise on the growth of digital revenues. We believe that we are on track to meet full year management expectations.”
Huntsworth Health, which includes healthcare advertising as well as public relations, saw revenues grow by 9 percent, while Citigate and Red Consultancy were both flat—although the latter, consumer-focused firm has the best margins in the group. Grayling, meanwhile, saw revenues decline by a little more than 7 percent.
Added Chadlington: “We are working closely with BlueFocus in China and with its investment of £36.5m expected in September 2013 and just £9.6m of deferred contingent consideration payments remaining, the Group is set to deleverage significantly in the coming months.”