NEW YORK: Independent PR giant Edelman achieved global revenues of $575.1 million in the 2010-11 financial year, up 18% year-over-year from $487.2 million, according to figures seen exclusively by PRWeek.
Organic growth, excluding currency fluctuations and acquisitions, in the financial year July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011, was 15%. Edelman achieved growth of 14% in the US, climbing from $321.4 million to $367.2 million.
President and CEO Richard Edelman attributed the double-digit rise to the development of the firm's digital business, the benefits of being privately owned, and the retention and growth of its work with large clients.
“Digital accounts for as much as 20% of revenue in some offices, 15% across the US, and 12% globally,” he said. “The holding companies have to make 20% margin after they've distributed their bonuses – 25% overall.”
Edelman explained that his agency can work on profit margins 8 to 10 points lower than that and still pay equivalent bonuses.
“Most importantly, we've retained our top 50 clients and organically grown the top 20 significantly,” he added. “We're doing great work across the board in international marketing and corporate reputation.”
Revenue from Edelman's top 50 clients grew 19% in the 2011 financial year, while the top 20 were up 14.5%.
Edelman rejected claims that the agency had a high client churn rate and operated on a high-win, high-turnover strategy: “That may have been true 10 years ago, but it is statistically false that there is a high turnover now. We have not lost one of our top 50 clients since Nissan in 2008.”
Staff turnover in the period was under 20% overall, and 15% in the US. The agency now employs 3,941 people worldwide, a net increase of 500.
“We've reduced our global staff turnover figure from the mid-20% range a few years ago,” said Edelman. “That's good given the nature of our workforce and higher turnover levels in Asia. And we're still hiring in a forward-looking manner.”
Edelman said it was unlikely there would be more than one further acquisition in 2011. “We're taking the foot off the pedal in terms of acquisitions in the next six months,” he explained. “We don't want to get overextended.”