TOP 150 PR CONSULTANCIES 2003: The SEC's legacy

With 13 of the biggest agencies unable to enter the Top 150, Willott Kingston Smith partner Esther Bannister has been combing Companies House for PRWeek.

The introduction of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has had a significant impact on the Top 150, with many of the larger agencies who are members of international groups prohibited from supplying figures. Consequently the results of this year's Top 150 survey are incomplete as some of the main players, such as Weber Shandwick which topped the 2002 table, are missing. The only information available for these particular companies are figures from audited financial statements. While this information is inherently more historic that most of the figures that are published in the Top 150, we felt it was important to present what information was available on some of the country's leading agencies.

The following table therefore includes the most recently available financial information for those agencies unable to submit results this year.

The figures in the table were obtained from the latest accounts filed at Companies House. Results of subsidiaries have been grouped together.

No adjustments for intercompany trade or non-UK income have been made, as sufficient information was not available. Companies with non-UK income are indicated on the table. In particular, the figures for Financial Dynamics vary significantly with those in the PR Tables last year, due to inclusion of significant non-UK income. Unfortunately figures were not available for all companies who formerly entered the Top 150. Most with unobtainable figures operate as divisions while Weber Shandwick had not filed its 2001 results at the time of going to press.

But how have the groups that head up these consultancies fared since these reported figures? We see that during 2002 PR appears to have been particularly hit.

Havas comment in their report for the first nine months of 2002 that financial PR was the sector most negatively affected.

Interpublic report that 2002 worldwide non-advertising and media revenues were down approximately 8.3 per cent. And Omnicom's 2002 financial highlights reported a fall in worldwide PR revenues during 2002 of six per cent, despite an increase in total revenues of 9.4 per cent. PR comprised 12.2 per cent of revenues in 2002.

WPP's preliminary results for 2002 reported a fall in its worldwide PR and Public Affairs revenues of 10.9 per cent, commenting that this was the sector most affected by the recession particularly in

technology, media and communications. Operating profit contributed by PR and Public Affairs was down 3.7 per cent. Conversely, WPP did report that Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Robinson Lere and Montgomery in the US and Finsbury and Buchanan in the UK performed well during 2002.

In 2002 PR and Public Affairs comprised 11.4 per cent group revenues and 9.7 per cent group operating profits.

Many of this year's Top 150 consultancies reflect the trends of the large groups, showing decreases in fee income. However, those who have acted quickly, making staff cuts and keeping an eye on key ratios and generally kept their house in order will be well placed to capitalise on new revenue streams once the market picks up.

Moving forward we eagerly await to see what 2003 will bring for the PR sector.

AGENCIES NOT INCLUDED IN TOP 150 TABLE

GROUP NAME COMPANY Year end Gross income

(pounds)

Biss Lancaster Euro Biss Lancaster Euro 31/12/01 6,429,123

RSCG (N/A) RSCG

The Maitland

Consultancy 1,2 31/12/01 8,510,387

CGI Brandsense 31/12/01 3,987,938

18,927,448

Brodeur Worldwide (34) Brodeur Worldwide 2 31/12/01 4,769,529

Buchanan Buchanan

Communications (26) Communications 31/12/01 5,916,190

Countrywide Porter

Novelli (5) Countrywide Porter

Novelli 2 31/12/01 14,649,010

Fodor Wyllie 31/12/01 2,397,298

17,046,308

Financial Dynamics (8) Financial Dynamics 2 31/12/01 23,865,000

Fishburn Hedges (17) Fishburn Hedges Boys

Williams 2 31/12/01 9,396,626

Fleishman-Hillard (11) Fleishman-Hillard UK 2 31/12/01 4,512,706

CPR Worldwide 2 31/12/01 2,181,209

CPR UK Healthcare 31/12/01 451,297

CPR The Remedy 3 31/12/01 443,931

GPC Group Limited 4 31/12/01 -

Herald Communications 2 31/12/01 1,718,282

9,307,425

Golin/Harris Intl (23) Golin/Harris Intl 31/12/01 2,595,000

Ludgate

Communications 2 31/12/00 4,236,952

See footnote ** -

GCI/APCO (7) GCI London 30/9/01 7,582,682

GCI Financial Group 2 31/12/01 3,040,142

GCI Healthcare 31/1/02 695,651

GCI Jane Howard 31/3/01 1,896,558

APCO UK 30/9/01 3,083,511

See footnote ** -

Hill & Knowlton (3) Hill & Knowlton 2 31/12/01 26,106,000

Ketchum (14) Ketchum 31/12/01 5,004,934

Ketchum Group 31/12/01 3,266,207

8,271,141

Staniforth

Communications (42) TCG 31/12/01 3,597,670

The Shire Hall

Group (16) Shire Health Group 31/12/01 -5,086

Shire Health London 31/12/01 3,557,202

Shire Health Intl 31/12/01 2,579,791

4D Communications 31/12/01 2,620,559

Olog-E-Limited 5 31/12/01 29,904

8,782,370

GROUP NAME COMPANY Turnover Staff costs Employ-

(pounds) (pounds) ees

Biss Lancaster Euro Biss Lancaster 10,567,192 3,824,749 106

RSCG (N/A) Euro RSCG

The Maitland

Consultancy 1,2 9,648,529 3,111,596 35

CGI Brandsense 5,470,735 2,072,452 46

25,686,456 9,008,797 187

Brodeur Worldwide Brodeur

(34) Worldwide 2 6,641,616 3,187,133 67

Buchanan Buchanan

Communications (26) Communications 6,763,700 2,307,964 33

Countrywide Porter

Novelli (5) Countrywide Porter

Novelli 2 18,881,021 8,642,653 183

Fodor Wyllie 2,843,864 1,090,887 23

21,724,885 9,733,540 206

Financial Dynamics Financial

(8) Dynamics 2 27,662,000 11,136,000 164

Fishburn Hedges Fishburn

17) Hedges Boys

Williams 2 13,215,004 5,614,617 89

Fleishman-Hillard Fleishman-

(11) Hillard UK 2 8,152,472 2,437,512 49

CPR Worldwide 2 3,914,051 1,408,951 29

CPR UK Healthcare 569,741 201,093 3

CPR The Remedy 3 529,826 269,862 3

GPC Group

Limited 4 - - -

Herald

Communications 2 2,152,347 1,129,598 36

15,318,437 5,447,016 120

Golin/Harris Intl Golin/Harris Intl 4,640,000 1,438,000 43

(23) Ludgate

Communications 2 5,597,194 2,478,379 50

See footnote ** - - -

GCI/APCO (7) GCI London 14,584,239 4,149,344 96

GCI Financial

Group 2 3,382,061 2,030,835 31

GCI Healthcare 1,210,956 402,014 12

GCI Jane Howard 2,536,216 719,347 22

APCO UK 4,253,652 1,912,679 40

See footnote ** - - -

Hill & Knowlton (3) Hill & Knowlton 2 34,996,000 13,813,000 354

Ketchum (14) Ketchum 18,017,620 4,804,148 115

Ketchum Group 3,266,207 1,861,782 34

21,283,827 6,665,930 149

Staniforth

Communications (42) TCG 5,881,294 1,582,425 54

The Shire Hall

Group (16) Shire Health Group 306,279 - -

Shire Health London 4,564,594 2,384,675 48

Shire Health Intl 3,882,826 980,797 22

4D Communications 6,124,044 686,637 17

Olog-E-Limited 5 29,904 46,204 4

14,907,647 4,098,313 91

**Total not included due to differing year ends of statutory accounts 1

Fifteen-month period, thus figures have been pro-rated for 12 months 2

These figures include turnover and gross income from outside the UK

which is not usually included in the PRWeek figures 3 Period is from 15

August 2000 to 31 December 2001 4 Holding company therefore no figures

available 5 Incorporated on 19 October 2001 Notes: All the figures have

been obtained from the latest accounts filed at Companies House. The

staff costs are total staff costs per the accounts, including pension

and social security costs. All the figures in brackets represent the

company's position in the PRWeek Top 150 in 2002.

Key: (X) Position in 2002 PRWeek Top 150 League Tables.

TOP 150 LEAGUE TABLES

AGENCIES WITH NO FIGURES AVAILABLE AT COMPANIES HOUSE

GROUP NAME REASONS FOR NOT INCLUDING FIGURES TABLE ABOVE

Burson-Marsteller (6) Ultimate parent company is WPP -

no individual figures available

Cohn & Wolfe (12) Ultimate parent company is WPP -

no individual figures available

Grayling (15) Ultimate parent company is Havas

Advertising - no individual figures

available

Manning Selvage

& Lee (28) Parent company is B/Com3 Group Inc -

no individual figures available

Ogilvy (21) Ultimate parent company is WPP -

no individual figures available

Weber Shandwick (1) 2001 figures were not available from

Companies House

Key: (X) Position in 2002 PRWeek Top 150 League Tables

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