Huntsworth: comms agency growth accelerates

Huntsworth's Communications arm stepped up its growth in the second half of the year, with the Grayling owner predicting revenue growth of about two per cent across the year.

Huntsworth said it is the first time growth in the division – which also includes PR agencies Red Consultancy and Citigate – has been at that level for "several years".

The group's trading update this morning does not provide trading figures for the individual Huntsworth agencies.

However, Sarah Scholefield, CEO, Europe, UK & Ireland at Grayling, told PRWeek: "Across the UK & Europe, Grayling has enjoyed a strong year seeing good growth, both organic and wholly new, and increasingly strong teams and leadership across the business. We are looking forward to 2020 with good reason to be optimistic for ongoing growth."

The company said it anticipates overall like-for-like revenue growth of about three per cent for the full year. It also expects headline pre-tax profit for the year to be within current market expectations of £38.5m to £41m.

Huntsworth expects like-for-like revenue growth in its Medical division to be about eight per cent for the full year. In its Marketing arm, revenue growth is expected to be about three per cent in H2.

Huntsworth's acquisitions this year have included Luxembourg-based CC and Kyne.

In a statement, the company said: "The group remains focused on delivering superior growth led by its healthcare agencies and recent acquisitions continue to complement this. Despite some currency headwinds as a result of the strengthening in sterling, management is confident about the group's future trading and expects continued good growth across all its businesses in 2020."

Huntsworth saw like-for-like revenue growth in its comms agencies for the first time in "a number of years" in the first half of 2019, with Grayling UK highlighted for its "stand-out" performance.

In October, Huntsworth announced it had promoted chief financial officer Neil Jones to oversee its Communications arm in the new role of chief operating officer.

This article was updated on Tuesday morning with a comment from Sarah Scholefield.

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