M&C Saatchi PR and Sport & Entertainment had 'really good' H1

M&C Saatchi PR and sister agency Sport & Entertainment had a "really good" first half of 2017, with the former growing profit by around 20 per cent and the latter seeing double-digit revenue growth.

That’s according to David Kershaw (pictured), CEO of the agencies’ listed owner M&C Saatchi. He spoke to PRWeek as the marcoms group reported a 17 per cent rise in H1 pre-tax profit to £13.3m ($18m) on like-for-like revenue up 10 per cent to £121m ($163.7m). Overall revenue rose 21 per cent, or 12 per cent on a constant currently basis.

Kershaw said: "On the M&C Saatchi PR side, we’re looking at something like 20 per cent profit growth across the network. That’s tremendous. We’ve been opening offices and also winning business."

New offices include the UAE, where the agency recently won a Rolls-Royce account for the region.

Kerhsaw added: "In the UK they’re looking at something like 14 per cent revenue growth, which in the current market is pretty stunning. Probably the most important wins were Lipton Tea and Virgin Active."

He said M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment has "powered on in the UK". Highlights included the launch of NatWest’s sponsorship of the England Cricket team, plus more business from Samsung and Reebok.

M&C Saatchi S&E also opened an office in LA and acquired a 60 per cent stake in South African agency Levergy.

In addition, the agency made its "first significant move into the influencer channel" by launching an influencer division within Sport & Entertainment’s talent management business Merlin.

Kerhsaw said: "Both Sport & Entertainment and PR have had a really good period. The model now is very much to win more business in mature markets, and then roll out new start-ups elsewhere. We’ll keep doing that."

Of the two agencies, he said: "PR is probably growing faster because we’re opening more offices.

"For Sport & Entertainment, the growth in offices tends to take a little more time than for PR, because it’s so specialist and finding the right people can be tougher than for general consumer PR. It’ll still be double-digit [revenue growth] but it won’t have the benefit of so many office openings as PR. But they’re both firing really well."

Kerhsaw said the group’s other PR shop, Talk PR, "hasn’t had the kind of stellar growth" as its sister PR agencies after it stopped working with Procter & Gamble brands. However, he said: "They’ve been replacing the P&G business."

Across the group, like-for-like revenue growth was five per cent in the UK, where growth trailed Europe (+15 per cent) and the Americas (+14 per cent). Like-for-likes rose nine per cent in the Middle East and Africa and 12 per cent in Asia and Australasia.

The group also announced a 15 per cent rise in interim dividends to 2.13p.

Shares in M&C Saatchi rose 2.11 per cent this morning to 302.75p.

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