NEW YORK: FTI Consulting’s strategic communications segment recorded a 20.7% year-over-year increase in revenue in the first quarter to $52.8 million. The segment’s revenue was up 14.1% in the period excluding the impact of foreign currency exchanges.
The agency noted an increase in project- and retainer-based revenues in Q1.
The holding company saw a total revenue increase of 11.5%, led by its corporate finance and restructuring segment, which recorded a 35% boost to $142.9 million. Forensic and litigation consulting increased revenue 14.9% to $128 million. However, the economic consulting segment dipped 4.4% to $133.1 million and technology dropped 11.2% to $40.9 million.
"In terms of revenue, it’s our best quarter in 10 years at least," said FTI Consulting strategic communications segment leader Mark McCall.
The group’s operating income was $8.4 million, more than three times the $2.5 million it generated during the same period of last year.
McCall highlighted increased integration between public affairs and financial communications in North America, EMEA, and London.
Post-election uncertainty also affected corporate spending on strategic communications, with McCall noting it "took a while for corporations to realize they need to play an active role."
"Clients are seeing that it’s a complex business environment and a transaction isn’t just about communicating to the street [but also] getting regulatory approval," he explained. "The more you’re coordinated, the better your chances are at completing the transaction."
Part of FTI’s rebound can also be attributed to increased work on transactions, which McCall attributed to the passage of tax reform and a greater appetite for mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings. He added that the group’s base of retained clients is also more robust than it was in past years, and clients are asking for support on corporate reputation and change-based communications.
"[FTI is also] taking advantage of the disruption with many competitors," McCall added. For example, the firm hired Tara Chandra as senior director in its strategic communications segment from shuttered lobbying shop the Podesta Group.