LONDON: Huntsworth – the PR and healthcare communications group that owns Grayling, Citigate, Huntsworth Health and Red – has reported that its revenues dipped by 0.7 percent in 2010, following a major restructuring of the business.

The group has also revealed it has acquired highly-rated US technology and digital agency Atomic PR, providing a much-needed boost to Grayling’s North American footprint. Previously, Huntsworth operated a joint venture with Atomic PR, which oversaw the brand’s European operations. Red Consultancy’s US operations have been transferred into Atomic, which will eventually be combined into Grayling North America.

Huntsworth has also confirmed that Grayling has taken lead agency duties on British Airways’ global PR account, as first revealed by the Holmes Report. It is understood that this business will be worth approximately £1.5 million in fees per year, and will be operated in conjunction with Action Global and Meropa.

While like-for-like revenues dipped, profit before tax was up 14.4 percent on 2009. 2010 marked the first year of Huntsworth’s operations since it whittled down its 26 brands into four, in a bid to better compete for global clients. There are signs that the move is paying off: Global and multi-office clients now represent 44 percent of group revenues, with four global clients delivering fees of more than £3 million per year – or 10 percent of group earnings.

In his note, Huntsworth chief executive Lord Chadlington said that the increase in global clients would take time to filter through to revenues and profits in 2011 and beyond.

The group was adversely impacted by the loss of £2 million in UK public sector fees, and low financial PR transaction fees. The UK declined by 1.5 percent, while Continental Europe was down 5.3 percent. The US grew 3.8 percent, and the remainder of Huntsworth’s global operations declined by 3.4 percent.

Overall, Grayling accounted for 48 percent of Huntsworth revenue in 2010, and declined by two percent during the year. However, the agency “returned to modest growth during the second half of the year,” after dropping by almost five percent in the first half of the year.

Citigate saw the biggest decline, contracting by 4.2 percent, while Red Consultancy – after several years of double-digit growth – increased by just 0.8 percent, a victim of the public sector downturn. Huntsworth Health was the star performer, growing by 3.3 percent thanks in part to surging digital income.

The group has forecast seven percent revenue growth in 2011, which it believes will be bolstered by strong growth in digital.