LONDON — Independent PR firm Lewis delivered 17% organic growth for its 2014 fiscal year, boosted largely by strong demand for its digital offerings.
For its financial year ending July 31, global revenues were $57 million with 500 people across its 28 offices. When taking in account its two major acquisitions for the year — the UK-based digital production shop Purestone and EBA Communications in China — year-on-year growth was 42%.
Breaking it down by regions, Asia-Pacific led organic growth at 25%, in part, due to big wins in the region including Spotify and Nikon. In the US — the firm’s largest territory, representing 43% of total group revenues — organic growth was 22% driven by the growth of its digital business Lewis Pulse. Anchor Pulse clients VMware and McAfee expanded their remit, meanwhile, the traditional PR side brought on new clients like MuleSoft.
“Pulse is the fastest growing business in the US — it’s now about one-third of our business,” said Morgan McLintic, EVP of Lewis PR and head of its US business.
Organic growth in the UK was 15%, meanwhile, mainland Europe delivered 12% organic returns. In the UK, McLintic credits new business wins like SAS in the UK and Ireland, in addition to an increasing number of US clients looking to roll out in the region. On the continent, despite relatively difficult economic conditions, Lewis saw steady gains in Spain, Portugal, Germany and France, McLintic noted.
Lewis also launched a partner network Lewis+ in FY 2014 to broaden its reach to 75 countries. Other investments included several senior hires and new offices in Boston, London, Paris and Singapore.
“This year’s results are proof that the employee ownership model works,” CEO Chris Lewis said. “It allows us to retain clients and staff and grow the organic business ahead of market rate in all regions.It also gives us the flexibility and resources to make further investments. For example, we will continue to invest in digital talent as Lewis Pulse expands globally. We expect to continue our geographic expansion and sector diversification with several strategic acquisitions next year.”
Organic numbers have not yet been audited since the close of the financial year on July 31, 2014.