JOHANNESBURG: Fleishman-Hillard has made its first move into Africa
with the acquisition of a majority stake in top-five South African
agency Vallun Wilkins.
The day-to-day running of Vallun Wilkins will remain in the hands of
local managers. The manager’s brief includes planning for a pan-African
network for F-H, which is seeking to make long-term investments in
affiliates in Kenya, Ghana, Egypt and the Middle East.
Vallun Wilkins’ three managing directors, Lucien Vallun, Blake Wilkins
and Michelle de Pons, will retain their positions. The name of the
agency, whose clients include Daimler Chrysler, Panasonic and Dell
Computers, will change to Fleishman-Hillard/Vallun Wilkins.
’In looking to grow our business, we sought investment from an
international agency to gain access to global accounts and global
standards. Three years ago, less than 20 per cent of our business was
international; now it is over 50 per cent - we want to develop that
further. Our association with Fleishman-Hillard will also help to
attract top-level staff,’ said Vallun.
Rick Sullivan, international president of Fleishman-Hillard, said that
investing in an established local agency would give Fleishman-Hillard a
good base for future growth in the area.
’The democratisation process in South Africa continues to yield
important communications opportunities,’ he said.
Vallun Wilkins was established 14 years ago and has a staff of 22. Its
skills base includes healthcare, investor relations, crisis
communications and issues management.
Fleishman-Hillard joins Shandwick, Edelman PR Worldwide, Citigate Dewe
Rogerson, Text 100 and Burson-Marsteller as groups with a South African