Huntsworth upbeat on trading ahead of financial year-end

Grayling, Red and Citigate parent company Huntsworth said it "continues to trade well" in a short, upbeat trading update this morning.

The group, led by CEO Paul Taaffe (above), said it expected to reach "at least market consensus" for profit in 2017; market consensus for pre-tax profit is £22.8m ($30.6m) this year, Huntsworth pointed out.

Huntsworth said the performance was being led by "continuing strong growth" at Huntsworth Health, the health-related marcoms division that is its biggest and fastest-growing unit.

The Creative Engagement Group, which Huntsworth bought in July for £24.7m, was said to have "performed well" and is "now fully integrated within the group and is increasingly engaged in joint new business with other group agencies".

Huntsworth said it was "confident about future trading and expects continued good growth prospects in its Healthcare businesses", adding that it "remains in a strong financial position" and was operating "well within" its £75m bank facility.

Huntsworth earlier announced it had swung into profit in the first half of 2017, with Grayling also returning to the black, following a period of restructuring.

It reported a pre-tax profit of £9.2m ($12m) in H1, turning around a pre-tax loss of £8.9m ($11.6m) in the same period last year. Revenue in the first half of 2017 rose nine per cent to £94.2m ($122.6m), with growth of seven per cent on a like-for-like basis.

The second half of 2017 has seen some significant departures at Huntsworth, including Huntsworth Health CEO Neil Matheson, along with Peter Harris and Tony Cofone, CEO and CFO respectively at Grayling US.

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