Arun Sudhaman

Working the angles around media, comms and marketing.

International earnings spur Chime growth, but PR is flat

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Despite a flat year for its Bell Pottinger Group PR unit, Chime Communications has reported a 21 percent increase in its earnings for 2010, spurred by growth in international revenue.

International earnings grew to over 50 percent of the group’s income, compared to 30 percent in 2009. Chime added four new international offices during the year, most notably expanding financial firm Pelham Bell Pottinger and sports marketing agency Fast Track into Asia-Pacific.

Public relations, which includes such agencies as Bell Pottinger, Good Relations and Harvard, was flat for the year on an organic basis, growing by seven percent overall to almost £73 million. PR’s share of group income dropped to 49 percent, from 55 percent in 2009.

In a statement from Chime Communications chairman Lord Bell, the group pointed to strong performances from Pelham Bell Pottinger, public affairs, its geopolitical business, corporate citizenship, property and international. It also said that, in 2011, city and financial, corporate, technology, CSR and the Middle East had begun well.

Bell Pottinger has hit the headlines recently for its work in the Middle East, in particular its representation of the Bahrain government. “Our Middle East business has not been affected by the turmoil in the region,” said Bell.

There was particular growth from the group’s sports marketing division, which increased by 11 percent on an organic basis to over £29 million, backed by such assignments as HSBC’s sponsorship of the World Rugby 7s; Mubadala’s activity around the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the World Tennis Championships; the Tri Yas triathlon; Investec’s naming rights of Super Rugby and Tri-Nations in New Zealand; and winning the commercial agency rights for the Rugby World Cup 7s.

Chime’s advertising and marketing services unit, housing VCCP Group and Teamspirit, also grew by an impressive 25 percent. Overall, group income grew by 21 percent to £149.3 million. As usual, Chime pointed out that its two largest clients are responsible for a relatively high proportion of this income, at 21 percent. Chime does not disclose the identities of these clients but they are both thought to be entities from outside the UK.

The group’s outlook for 2011 is cautious, citing challenging economic conditions. However, it expects growth from new healthcare agency Open Health, sports marketing and financial PR. “Our strategy is to expand both organically and through earnings enhancing acquisitions,” said Bell.

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Written by Arun Sudhaman

March 9, 2011 at 11:59 am

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