INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Positive half year reported by Chime

LONDON: Chime Communications has bucked the trend of slumping

corporate revenues and profits, posting a set of record half-year

figures.



The company unveiled its six-month accounts on Tuesday, with income up

37% to £50.9 million ($74.4m), and pre-tax profit up 31% to

£8.4 million ($12.3m).



Most astonishingly, the firm's group-wide profit margin crept up

fractionally, to almost 18%.



"We have continued our growth rate for the first half of 2001," chairman

and CEO Lord Bell said. "People have talked about a slowdown in PR, but

we have not experienced it." He added, "Sure, the growth rate will get

slower for the second half of the year because times are harder, but

that just means we have to be more competitive."



In a statement, the company said, "Overall, our PR businesses have

experienced some client expenditure delays, but their performance has

been more than satisfactory."



The PR businesses - Bell Pottinger Communications and the Good Relations

group, which includes QBO - saw operating profit climb by 42%.



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