Chime outperforms analyst expectations with 7 per cent income growth

Chime Communications has outperformed analyst expectations by announcing a 7 per cent growth in operating income over the first six months of the year.

Chime Communications chairman: Lord Bell
Chime Communications chairman: Lord Bell

The UK-listed marketing and communications firm saw organic operating income rise 7 per cent to £58.4m in the six months to June 30th from £54.4m during the corresponding period last year.

Operating profit also rose to £9.4m, representing organic growth of 3 per cent over the £9.1m recorded in the first half of 2008.

Chime's chairman Lord Bell stated: ‘Having delivered the highest profit in our history we have outperformed the market and our competition and achieved first half results ahead of expectation.  We are delighted and remain cautiously optimistic for the full year.'

The overall performance was driven by strong growth in its public relations business, which was responsible for 55 per cent of operating income.

The Bell Pottinger Group, including Good Relations, Harvard, Insight and Corporate Citizenship saw operating income rise by 10 per cent to £32m and Operating profit climb to £6.7m - a growth of 25 per cent year-on-year. Operating profit margin increased to 20.9 per cent from 18.4 per cent.

The group said that less good performance in public affairs, financial PR and tech was offset by strong performance in geopolitical, corporate and social responsibility, the Middle East and consumer PR.

Overall, nearly half of the group's operating income came from international work - a sharp rise from the 34 per cent such work represented over the corresponding period last year.

The group said it was ‘cautiously optimistic' for the rest of the year and that ‘the outlook is good although economic uncertainty hangs over the market'.

Chime's share price rose 2 per cent in early trading to 171.5p, having already jumped from 41.75p within the past six months.

Analysts this morning upgraded their estimates for Chime's full year figures. Evolution Securities said its full year profit before tax (PBT) ‘is likely to be at least equal to FY08' and Numis Securities raised its full year PBT and earnings per share forecasts by 3 per cent from £16.0m/18.6p to £16.5m/19.0p.

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