Huntsworth, Grayling see first-half revenue drops

LONDON: Huntsworth's first-half 2013 revenue fell 0.5% on a like-for-like basis to about $138.3 million, with its largest firm, Grayling, seeing a like-for-like revenue drop of 7.2% in the period to $62.8 million.

LONDON: Huntsworth's first-half 2013 revenue fell 0.5% on a like-for-like basis to about $138.3 million, with its largest firm, Grayling, seeing a like-for-like revenue drop of 7.2% in the period to $62.8 million.

The holding company's three other units saw revenue growth on a like-for-like basis in the first six months of the year, with Citigate up 0.4% to $18.8 million; Huntsworth Health increasing 9.7% to $45.9 million; and Red reporting flat revenue at $10.7 million.

The firm said in an earnings statement that it saw “strong growth in the USA and rest of the world offset by continuing revenue declines in the UK and Europe.” The UK and Europe account for 60% of Grayling's revenue.

“Citigate, Red, and Huntsworth Health are all performing well. Grayling, under new leadership, is beginning to see the benefits of the investment plan announced in April to stimulate top-line growth and capitalize on the growth of digital revenue,” Huntsworth CEO Peter Chadlington said in an earnings statement. “We believe we are on-track to meet full-year management expectations.”

The company explained that its management created a plan and investment package for Grayling after hiring Pete Pedersen as global CEO of the firm in February, including digital staff training, bolstering its international delivery platform, and recruiting key talent. Previous agency chief executive Michael Murphy announced plans to leave Grayling last July.

Huntsworth said it will hire a regional CEO in Asia next January to focus on driving regional expansion of the Grayling network and leveraging its alliance with BlueFocus. In April, Huntsworth agreed to sell a 19.8% stake in its business to China-based PR group BlueFocus. That deal is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.

The holding company's overall reported operating profit was $15.7 million in the first half of the year. Its operating margin after central costs decreased to 14% from 15.5% in the first six months of 2012. Digital accounted for 24% of group revenue, and it saw 9% like-for-like revenue growth.

The holding company has 73 offices in 28 countries and employs about 1,700 staffers. Its four divisions are Citigate, Red, Huntsworth, and Huntsworth Health.   

Note: All figures were converted from British pounds sterling to American dollars using the XE currency exchange calculator.

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