Chime PR profits climb 11% to £2.1m

Chime Communications has reported increased PR profits in 2013, with its headline operating income topping the £20m mark.

Christopher Satterthwaite: Chime chief executive
Christopher Satterthwaite: Chime chief executive

The group as a whole was hit as expected by the lack of business for its sports & entertainment division compared with the landmark year of 2012.

However, growth in all of its other divisions, including healthcare communications, helped to offset a 36 per cent fall in its sports & entertainment division’s operating profit.

The public relations division includes the various businesses in the Good Relations Group but not healthcare PR agency Reynolds-MacKenzie or sports PR interests such as Fast Track.

The division reported a 14 per cent like-for-like increase in annual operating income to £20.8m and an 11 per cent like-for-like increase in operating profit to £2.1m.

Its growth in 2013 followed the July 2012 management buyout from Chime of Bell Pottinger for £19.6m, though Chime retains a 25 per cent stake.

The operating profit margin at Chime’s PR division dropped from 10.4 per cent to 10 per cent, which Chime ascribed to investment in improving the senior management. Good Relations Group’s hires in 2013 included a new chief executive, Jackie Brock-Doyle, among a number of others.  

The division was hit by the loss of BlackBerry as a client last year, but its new business wins included B&Q, Waitrose and Jaguar Land Rover.

Chime chief executive Christopher Satterthwaite told PRWeek he was "very happy with 11 per cent growth" in Good Relations Group, which he described as "a work in progress".

Satterthwaite also disclosed that Reynolds-MacKenzie had achieved growth of "well over 20 per cent" in operating income and operating profit.

This helped the larger healthcare communications division to a 30 per cent like-for-like increase in operating income to £18.4m and a 24 per cent like-for-like increase in operating profit to £3.9m.

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