Marcus Evans Group | Worldwide Headquarters | American Offices | Latin America | European Offices | African / Asian Offices

Chime Communications profits up 23%

Flat profits at PR operation offset by strong results in sports marketing, and advertising and marketing services divisions

Lord Bell’s Chime Communications reported a 23% surge in pre-tax profits to £12.7m in the first half of 2011, despite turmoil in the Middle East impacting the financial performance of the group’s PR division.

Chime’s PR operation, which includes Bell Pottinger, Harvard and Good Relations, reported a 5% fall in net revenue to £32.6m and flat operating profits of £7.8m.

The company said that the PR operation, the largest of Chime’s divisions accounting for 48% of total revenues, had faced “short term challenges” from the uprisings across the Middle East.

“The global market and global economy are becoming increasingly volatile and we are not immune to this continuing lack of political, social and economic stability, particularly in our public relations business,” said Bell, best known as Margaret Thatcher’s favourite PR man in the 1980s.

The company’s separate advertising and marketing services divison – which includes VCCP, the ad agency behind Comparethemarket’s TV ads featuring meerkat Aleksandr Orlov – was Chime’s star performer.

The dvision reported operating profits up 33% to £2.4m and net revenues up 22% to £22.7m.

Chime said that this division, which accounts for 29% of total revenues, had a strong first half thanks to a number of new business wins such as easyJet, Carling and Dairy Crest.

The fast-growing sports marketing division – Chime recently acquired a controlling stake in the Brazilian firm Golden Goal (in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics) and the experiential agency Icon – reported a 2% increase in operating profit to £4.3m and a 7% increase in net revenues to £19.2m.

The division, which accounts for 24% of total revenues, won business including Oscar Pistorius, the South African sprinter known as Blade Runner, Sunderland FC and the Barclays Scottish Open Golf Championships.

“Our advertising business is gaining market share and our sports marketing business is well placed to become the global leader at a time when sports revenues are increasing,” said Bell. “These are impressive results achieved in an uncertain global economic and political environment which impacted some parts of our group”.

Chime’s research operation reported a 6% fall in net revenues to £3.9m and flat operating profits of £400,000.

Net cash at 30 June stood at £6.9m.

• To contact the MediaGuardian news desk email or phone 020 3353 3857. For all other inquiries please call the main Guardian switchboard on 020 3353 2000. If you are writing a comment for publication, please mark clearly “for publication”.

• To get the latest media news to your desktop or mobile, follow MediaGuardian on Twitter and Facebook © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds