Chime Communications outperforms market with eight per cent like-for-like growth

Chime Communications announced its 'best results ever' today, posting organic income growth of eight per cent and an organic profit increase of seven per cent during the full year 2009.

Chairman, Chime Communications: Lord Bell
Chairman, Chime Communications: Lord Bell

Including acquisitions, such as Pelham PR and Essentially Group, the UK listed group saw operating income rise by ten per cent to £123.1m compared with 2008. Operating profit also rose by ten per cent to £20.1m from £18.2m the previous year.

Lord Bell, chairman of Chime Communications, said: 'We outperformed the market and our competitors in 2008 and we have done so again in 2009. These are our best results ever and we are very pleased and delighted. We have made three acquisitions, controlled costs and strengthened our existing business. 2010 has started well and we are cautiously optimistic for the outcome of the full year.'

Public relations continues to be Chime's largest division, with 54 per cent of operating income. Its PR division saw operating income rise by nine per cent to £66.8m and operating profit increase by 15 per cent to £13.9m.

The group said that some of its PR businesses had been affected by the downturn and it had exercised strong cost control during the year. The performance of its geopolitical business, Corporate Citizenship and Good Relations was especially strong, Chime said.

In terms of outlook, the group said that its 2009 strategy was to strengthen its existing business ready for any upturn in the 2010 market. The earnings statement said Chime was 'cautiously optimistic for the outcome of 2010'.

Overall the group acted for 1,389 clients in 2009 compared with 1,381 in 2008, with two clients making up 22.3 per cent of operating income. Chime said that both clients had been retained since 2003, and were covered by more than one contract so that the ending of one contract would be unlikely to lead to all contracts for the same client coming to an end.

Analysts at Numis Securities said that they were upgrading forecasts for Chime after its 'excellent' preliminary results. The Numis research note said: 'We expect Chime to benefit from gradually improving underlying markets in 2010 in addition to the uplift from recent acquisitions... Although Chime shares have performed very strongly over the past year, in our view this reflects their chronic undervaluation at this point last year, and we continue to view them as undervalued.'

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