2002 league table shows consumer PR in a healthy position

LONDON - PRWeek's table of the UK's Top 50 consumer PR firms suggests the sector is healthier than expected, with 19 of the top 25 reporting growth in fee income.

The figures see Hill & Knowlton, headed by Paul Taafe, retain its clear lead at the top of the league with growth of two per cent, opening a gap of £4m in fee income over second-placed Countrywide Porter Novelli.

CPN rose one place to second despite a one per cent drop in fees, as Freud Communications had yet to finish its first financial year post-MBO and could not supply data.

Elsewhere, the merger of Weber Shandwick and BSMG sees the combined shop move to third from ninth, with income down 1.4 per cent from the combined figures of both agencies last year.

Mergers and acquisitions account for some of the most spectacular growth in the table, with Band & Brown Communications, Grayling Group and Fleishman-Hillard boosting their figures this way.

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (14th) and Nelson Bostock Communications (22nd) recorded the largest organic growth last year, with 85 per cent each.

Firefly Communications (31 per cent) and Joe Public Relations (45 per cent) recorded the most dramatic slumps in fee income, primarily due to declining consumer PR work for technology clients, while there were 12 new entries, predominantly in the lower reaches of the table.

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