Ailing BOC Group to seek agency for 2m brand drive

BOC Group, one of the UK’s biggest industrial companies, is looking for an agency to handle a 2m corporate branding campaign.

BOC is best known for its industrial gases business. It last ran a corporate campaign in 1990 through Lowe Howard-Spink, which featured a TV ad starring flamingos and the voice of Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Details of the new task are unclear and BOC could not be contacted for comment. However, sources say the push is intended to improve awareness of what the company does.

BOC is in the midst of major restructuring which will see a tenth of its worldwide workforce axed, including 500 jobs in the UK.

The restructuring follows a bleak series of results in which profits have been badly hit by the East Asian financial crisis, problems in the steel industry and the strong pound. In the three months to December, BOC’s pre-tax profits fell nine per cent, from 93.5m to 84.9m. Sales slipped 21 per cent to 761m.

BOC is also in the process of selling its Benelux and German gas operations to French rival, Air Liquide, for 112m cash.

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