Creston optimistic despite Q2 revenue drop

LONDON: Creston, the UK-listed marketing and PR group, has reported a 5% revenue drop over the past three months and flat performance in its communications businesses.

LONDON: Creston, the UK-listed marketing and PR group, has reported a 5% revenue drop over the past three months and flat performance in its communications businesses.

The owner of Nelson Bostock, Cooney/Waters, Fever, and Red Door Communications said that during the three months ending June 30, the first quarter of Creston's financial year, like-for-like revenues were 5% lower. The company said that drop was “largely due to the previously announced loss of a client in the health division.”

It noted in its earnings statement that “revenue growth from the group's UK companies is continuing to replace revenue from Cooney/Waters' contract with Sanofi Pasteur, which came to an end in FY 2013.”

The group said it is ahead of expectations and is “encouraged by the potential for this to positively impact revenue for the remainder of the year.”

The performance of its comms division was “broadly flat,” the group said.

It has pitched for ten different contracts for the UK Government Procurement Service and has been awarded a contract for integrated marketing services, which is one of only two such contracts commissioned so far by the government in its main roster. News of the other pitches is expected in the coming weeks.

It also picked up comms briefs with Bentley, Sony PlayStation, Reckitt Benckiser, and Sainsbury's during the period.

In other areas, the group saw a decline in like-for-like revenues in its health business, while its insight division reported an increase in revenue.

The group's outlook is cautiously optimistic, pointing to client demand for digital work and an increasing focus on cross-agency pitches.

“The IPA Bellwether Report on client sentiment towards increased marketing spend is the most encouraging for six years,” said Don Elgie, group chief executive. “At Creston, we are seeing this being borne out by high levels of new business activity, and while opportunities must always be converted, the level of pitching we are seeing is the highest I can remember. Based on our historic pitch-to-win ratio, we are confident that this will lead to further underlying growth in our client base.”

Cooney/Waters reported a revenue drop of 7.2% in 2012 to $19 million, with restrictive budgets, uncertainty over federal policy, and a nail biter of a presidential race driving the decrease.

This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK.

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