Citigate inspires recovery hopes amid Huntsworth revenue decline

Citigate, the financial PR division of Huntsworth, has increased its third quarter revenues by 7.7 per cent year on year.

Huntsworth: led by chief executive Lord Chadlington
Huntsworth: led by chief executive Lord Chadlington

Although Huntsworth’s overall revenues were down 0.9 per cent, the group was able to point to initial signs of a pick-up in some areas of the PR market.

Citigate’s performance is an improvement on the first half of the year, when it did not see any growth over the same period in 2012.

There was also improvement at Grayling, where the rate of revenue decline slowed to 5.4 per cent.

However, Huntsworth Health’s growth slowed markedly to 3.3 per cent and The Red Consultancy was hit by its first drop in revenues. Red’s 3.9 per cent fall followed a lack of growth in the first half of the year.

Sally Withey, Huntsworth chief operating officer, said: "In the marketing services sector, public relations is normally the last area to go into a recessionary period and is also usually the last out.

"In the past, financial public relations has been the first area to show signs of recovery, followed by the specialist practice areas, such as healthcare, with the consumer and corporate sectors being the last to recover. This pattern is reflected in our Q3 results."

Net debt has now fallen to under £40 million after the group received £36.5 million equity investment from Chinese marketing services group Blue Focus in October.

Withey claimed the strategic alliance has started well, with one major new shared annual contract and several smaller project initiatives.

"We are now working closely with UK Trade and Investment in the British Embassy and we expect this to generate more business both inside and outside China during 2014."

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