Huntsworth expects improved 2016 with restructure of Grayling 'now complete'

Huntsworth has issued an upbeat trading statement ahead of its full-year trading update next month, saying it "traded well" in Q4 and stating that the restructure of Grayling is "now complete".

Huntsworth CEO Paul Taaffe
Huntsworth CEO Paul Taaffe

The company, which also owns Huntsworth Health and PR shops Red and Citigate Dewe Rogerson, said it expects pre-tax profit for 2016 to be ahead of market consensus (£14.7m to £15m). Huntsworth reported pre-tax profit of £13.3m ($18.9m) in 2015.

The company, which also owns Huntsworth Health and Citigate Dewe Rogerson, said it "traded well" during the fourth quarter of 2016, "led again by strong growth at Huntsworth Health".

"As a result of this, together with continued favourable exchange rates, management expects the group’s full year results to be ahead of consensus."

Huntsworth added: "Grayling’s restructuring is now complete and early indications are that the Group’s trading in Q1 is in line with management expectations. The group is focused on driving operating profit and the Board is confident of further progress in 2017."

The firm, which announces its full-year results on 21 March, said it remains in a "strong financial position", operating within its £70m debt facility. Net debt at 31 December 2016 was about £31m.

In July, Huntsworth reported an improved performance in the first half of 2016, with pre-tax profit rising 21 per cent to £7.3m ($9.5m) on the back of revenue growth in three of its four divisions, although Grayling continued to struggle.

Click here to read PRWeek's interview with Huntsworth CEO Paul Taaffe from 2015, in which he discusses plans to steer the group towards recovery.

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