THE TOP EUROPEAN PR CONSULTANCIES 2001: Germany - The IPO flood of 2000 has dried up but PR opportunities have now emerged in other fields

It's been two strong years of growth for Germany's PR agencies.

Fee income for the Top 100 agencies grew by an average of 30 per cent

last year, surpassing the 23 per cent achieved in 1999.

Germany's pre-eminent agency Kohtes Klewes maintained its lead over its

distant pursuers with a rise of 28 per cent, helped by the fact that

last year's second placed agency Hunzinger slipped back to ninth place

after a seven per cent fall in its revenues.

The reason why nearly every agency performed well was the strength of

the economy last year. Economic growth during 2000 was three per cent -

the highest since 1992.

Last year began on a high with the continuation of the boom and

a flurry of IPOs. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the star

performer among German agencies was a financial specialist, Haubrok,

which posted an impressive 119 per cent rise in fee income to DM19.3m,

propelling it into sixth spot.

This year, though, the flood of IPOs has dried up. Turbulence in

financial markets has put many flotation plans on ice and - as in other

countries - many dot.coms have either crashed or slashed budgets.

Moreover, many companies listed on the Neuer Markt stock exchange, the

world's second biggest equity market for hi-tech companies behind New

York's Nasdaq, have seen their share prices take a battering.

Klaus Kirchhoff, founder of investor relations specialist Kirchhoff

Consult, says that of the 38 IPOs his company has handled since 1998, 30

were Neuer Markt flotations. Now that investor sentiment has turned,

times will surely be tougher for the agencies that have ridden the new

economy IPO wave.

'We have a weaker market than in 2000,' concedes Haubrok managing

director Michael Kempkes. 'But that's true of stock markets worldwide.

There are not nearly as many IPOs as in 2000 and it's possible that some

financial PR agencies will have lower turnovers this year.'

'People are going below their normal rates just to get an IPO assignment

- although we are not doing that,' says BSMG Worldwide Deutschland

chairman Janos Goenczoel. 'Thankfully, we have five other major practice

areas aside from financial.'

Kempkes believes that within the next three years 30 per cent of Neuer

Markt companies will have disappeared, either through bankruptcy or


But consolidation in the shape of M&As also brings PR opportunities in

the field of change management, internal communications and IR


There is likely to be a glut of M&A work soon, triggered not only by the

altered market conditions but also by changes to Germany's taxation laws

from January 2002. From then, German firms will not have to pay tax on

the subsidiaries they sell. Goenczoel says banks are already getting in

touch with PR agencies to prepare communications programmes linked to

M&As under preparation. He expects corporate communications to be one of

PR's strongest growth areas this year.

Weber Shandwick Deutschland chief executive officer Christiane Dirkes

says she expects to see a rise in integrated communications briefs

during the coming year. Clients have increasingly asked for Weber

Shandwick to work together with its IPG sister agency, the advertising

heavyweight McCann-Erickson. She also expects the interactive PR

division to grow strongly on the back of online tools such as

'standardised press rooms'.

Changes in pension plan legislation, widely known as the Riester Rente,

are also likely to present a massive opportunity for agency growth as

financial services companies vie to win over consumers with new

investment products.

'Nearly every financial services company is preparing a campaign. These

pension changes are going to be very big business for companies in the

personal finance sector,' says Fischer Appelt Communications managing

director Andreas Fischer-Appelt. 'The upper house of the German

parliament recently gave its blessing to a reform of the pensions

system,' adds Kohtes Klewes CEO Gregor Schoenborn. 'Private provision

for old age is being introduced on a major scale in Germany and will be

state-sponsored in the future. This means there is likely to be a boom

in both the insurance and financial services sectors in the years


Despite all stock market upheavals and the travails of dot.coms,

Germany's underlying economy seems in robust shape. Although it is

unlikely that the exceptionally strong economic growth of last year will

be matched, expectations are that GDP will swell by around two per cent

this year.

Trimedia Communications managing partner Bodo Bimboesei points out that

around a year ago his firm had 14 clients, while today there is

one. But he says that this is no great concern given the demand for

consumer PR from other sorts of clients.

Goenczoel adds that Germany still has greater growth potential than more

mature markets such as the UK and US. All told, therefore, the omens

look favourable for another year of strong growth - although a repeat of

last year's average hike of 30 per cent may be a tall order.


Rank Company Fee income (pounds) Growth

2000 2000 1999 %

1 Kohtes Klewes* 23,680,540 18,490,284 28

2 Trimedia Comms Deutschland* 6,753,820 5,287,573 28

3 Weber Shandwick Deutschland* 6,455,380 5,709,281 13

4 GCI Hering Schuppener 6,345,087 4,573,912 39

5 BSMG Worldwide Deutschland* 6,329,696 5,157,816 23

6 Haubrok 6,260,745 2,854,640 119

7 FischerAppelt Kommunikation* 5,804,327 4,141,175 40

8 ABC Euro RSCG* 5,641,159 5,118,889 10

9 Hunzinger Public Relations 5,547,085 5,952,574 -7

10 Edelman PRW'wide 5,222,694 3,633,179 44

11 Media Consulta Deutschland 4,904,791 3,732,442 31

12 H&K/Hiller, Wust & Partners 4,451,617 2,903,299 53

13 Kirchhoff Consult 4,306,290 4,190,807 3

14 Ahrens & Behrent Agentur* 4,281,961 3,308,788 29

15 Burson-Marsteller 4,249,522 3,762,935 13

16 Sponsor Partners 4,215,460 3,829,435 10

17 Citigate Demuth 4,054,887 3,795,374 7

18 Leipziger & Partner Komms* 3,633,179 3,470,983 5

19 DeekelingKommunikation* 3,600,740 2,887,080 25

20 Koob Agentur* 3,535,861 3,503,422 1

21 Fleishman-Hillard Germany* 3,343,822 2,487,105 34

22 Oliver Schrott Komms 3,273,105 2,523,762 30

23 F&H Public Relations 3,062,899 1,889,577 62

24 Fink & Fuchs PR 2,926,006 2,491,323 17

25 Bonig & Yamaoka 2,926,006 1,972,297 48

Rank Company Location Status


1 Kohtes Klewes* Dusseldorf Brodeur member

2 Trimedia Comms Deutschland* Frank/Main Trimedia subsidiary

3 Weber Shandwick Deutschland* Bonn WS subsidiary

4 GCI Hering Schuppener Dusseldorf GCI subsidiary

5 BSMG Worldwide Deutschland* Hamburg BSMG subsidiary

6 Haubrok Dusseldorf Independent

7 FischerAppelt Kommunikation* Hamburg Independent

8 ABC Euro RSCG* Dusseldorf Euro RSCG subsidiary

9 Hunzinger Public Relations Frank/Main Independent

10 Edelman PRW'wide Frank/Main Edelman subsidiary

11 Media Consulta Deutschland Berlin Media Consult member

12 H&K/Hiller, Wust & Partners Frank/Main H&K subsidiary

13 Kirchhoff Consult Hamburg Independent

14 Ahrens & Behrent Agentur* Frank/Main Independent

15 Burson-Marsteller Frank/Main B-M subsidiary

16 Sponsor Partners Bonn BBDO Group

17 Citigate Demuth Frank/Main Citigate subsidiary

18 Leipziger & Partner Komms* Frank/Main PROI network

19 DeekelingKommunikation* Dusseldorf ECCO member

20 Koob Agentur* Mulheim a Independent

21 Fleishman-Hillard Germany* Frank/Main F-H subsidiary

22 Oliver Schrott Komms Cologne Independent

23 F&H Public Relations Munich Independent

24 Fink & Fuchs PR Wiesbaden Independent

25 Bonig & Yamaoka Hamburg Independent

All figures relate to the year end 2000. Fee income = PR fees only

* Denotes GPRA member.

Figures compiled by PRWeek sister title PR Report

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