Huntsworth reports profits boost after expansion

Marcoms group Huntsworth has announced a rise in profits and handed out its first share dividend in 13 years following a recent acquisition spree that has included agencies such as Grayling and Trimedia.

The group’s interim results for the six months to June show operating profits of £1.94m, compared to £978,000 for the same period last year.

In a statement, the group said the acquisitions of public affairs and events management specialist Grayling and European PR and communications outfit Trimedia have transformed the ‘size and reach of the group’.

Huntsworth chairman Jon Foulds added: ‘The rapid integration of, and contribution from, the new businesses, as well as the ongoing progress of the rest of the group, strengthen our expectation that our full-year targets will be achieved.’

Foulds conceded though that like-for-like revenues of Huntsworth-owned companies at the end of last year were down by 2.7 per cent.

But he added that this reflected a ‘difficult period’ for Harrison Cowley this year and, excluding HC, ‘the comparison is flat’.

Huntsworth’s latest results also show how the acquisition spree has affected the sectoral make-up of the group. Eighty-five per cent of its business is now in PR and a third of operations are outside the UK.

It also announced that in the six months to June, Huntsworth firms won £7m worth of new business for the year. New clients include 3M Europe, Centrica Business Services and Heineken.

Since June, Huntsworth, whose chief executive is Lord Chadlington, has acquired public affairs and corporate communications firm Ergo and healthcare outfits VB Communications and Avenue HKM.

Huntsworth spent £1.37m upfront to buy Avenue (PRWeek, 13 August).

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