Good Relations profits plunge but sports helps Chime achieve overall growth

The PR businesses of former Bell Pottinger parent group Chime Communications have reported a drop in profits in the first half of 2014.

Chime chief executive Christopher Satterthwaite: Significant opportunities for development
Chime chief executive Christopher Satterthwaite: Significant opportunities for development

Operating profit at Good Relations Group, which includes the eponymous agency, Harvard PR and TTA Property, dropped by 37 per cent year on year to £1m.

Operating income backslid by seven per cent to £10.1m despite new business wins such as Bupa and easyProperty.

The reversal was attributed to major spend reductions in Good Relations' b2b customer recommendations business InEvidence by Chime chief executive Chris Satterthwaite.

"We fully expect Good Relations Group to return to growth in the second half," he said.

The separate healthcare comms division grew operating income by 14 per cent to £9.5m, but operating profit dropped 12 per cent to £1.5m. The division won new business from AstraZeneca and Mundipharma and invested in a new business and two new London offices.

Stronger performance from other businesses within the group, especially its sport and entertainment division, helped Chime to boosts its top and bottom lines.

Chime claimed its sports division, which grew operating profit by 116 per cent to £9.7m, delivered 29 separate projects at the World Cup, of which eight were directly for FIFA and 21 were for sponsors. It added that some contracts for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games were already being negotiated.

Group operating income rose eight per cent to £97.6m and headline group pre-tax profit surged 19 per cent to £16.2m.

Statutory pre-tax profit was £6.1m, compared with a £2m loss for the same period last year.

Satterthwaite said: "In the past two years Chime has become an international communications and sports marketing group. There remain significant opportunities for Chime to continue developing all areas of the business, growing market share and positioning the group for future growth."

The company’s financial outlook statement observed that its advertising and marketing services, healthcare and insight and engagement businesses are going into the second half of 2014 with strong momentum.

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