US 'the next big step' for Serviceplan Group as full-year income grows to €388m

The US is "the next big step" for Europe's largest independent marcoms agency Serviceplan Group, CEO Florian Haller has told PRWeek as the firm announces a 14 per cent rise in full-year income.

Florian Haller: Serviceplan Group needs to "offer better solutions in the US"
Florian Haller: Serviceplan Group needs to "offer better solutions in the US"

The integrated marcoms group, based in Germany, currently operates the House of Communication concept – where all its divisions are housed under one roof – in 14 countries, including France, Russia, Spain, China, and the UAE.

Haller said the group’s first priority for this year is to "strengthen" the House of Communication in the different markets. The second is to "offer better solutions in the US", where Serviceplan Group currently has a partnership with US agency 22 Squared.

"We want to intensify this partnership, or start something ourselves in the US. We’re not 100 per cent sure yet. But that’s definitely the next big step."

Income for the group rose 14 per cent to €388m (£346.7m, $455m) in the 12 months to 30 June 2017.

The group’s creative division, Serviceplan, for which its PR and content offer accounts for around 20 per cent, also saw an uplift. Income there rose from €76m (£67.9m, $89.1m) to €92m (£82.2m, $107.9m) in the period.

Income at the Serviceplan PR Group grew 24 per cent to about €21.5m (£19.2m, $25.3m), "as a result of the booming economy and the growing demand for content" - it was recently renamed Serviceplan PR & Content.

Notable account wins in the PR and content arm in the year included Renault, ABB, Covestro (a spin off of Bayer), and Moleskine (in collaboration with its UK partner agency Citizen).

Overall, Haller said the group worked on 250 new projects in the year and won 13 new accounts. Recent client wins include BMW, Lufthansa, Ferrero, Capri Sun and Motorola.

The company’s growth compares to the three per cent average across Germany, Haller stated. He attributed the group’s expansion to the integrated offer and its independent status proving an attraction for clients.

Haller pointed to the growth in income from content; the company bought Berlin-based agency Crispy Content earlier this year, and organic growth was also achieved.

He also pointed to the strength of the German economy. "In the German market, which still accounts for roughly 70 per cent of the business, obviously a strong economy is helpful. We do see companies ready to invest." Brexit has not affected the business, he added.

Haller said growth was strong in the group’s three main divisions. Income at its media agency Media Plus and digital offering Plan.Net rose, respectively, from €77m to €88m and from €89m to €98m.

Haller said: "The Serviceplan Group made extraordinary strides again in the past financial year – both in terms of growth and also performance. We were able to establish Houses of Communication at a number of international locations and now also have a presence on the ground in Poland. We continue to be represented in top positions in the area of creation and the topic of consulting has successfully developed into a successful and important product, even after the first financial year."

In the UK, Serviceplan also has a partnership with Creston, the marcoms holding company that owns Nelson Bostock, Fever Unlimited and Red Door Unlimited.

This story was updated on Monday afternoon with information on the performance of the PR Group.

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