Buchanan abandons Middle East venture

WPP financial PR outfit Buch-anan Communications has closed its Middle East operation because of tough economic conditions in the region.

Buchanan Middle East in Dubai has been rebranded as BME, after Buchanan pulled out of the joint operation with WPP brand JWT that was launched in October 2006. BME will continue as a consumer PR service.

Tim Anderson, partner at Buchanan, explained: 'The economy has absolutely nose-dived in the Middle East. There are no IPOs, and financial PR is limited to a very small selection of quoted companies.'

With clients still in the reg-ion, the firm plans to return when conditions improve.

The move comes at a time when other financial PR firms are stepping up their Middle East operations. In recent months, M:Communications, FD and Kreab Gavin Anderson have grown their presence in the region.

But Anderson said: 'This is the first recession the Middle East has suffered and budgets have just been slashed because of it. Agencies that are still building up there are missing the point at the moment. I don't think they are as wired into the economy as we are.'

Buchanan's departure from Dubai sees the JWT office reduce from 20 people to ten.

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