Chime Communications posts positive forecast for 2010

Chime Communications, owner of VCCP, says it expects to perform ahead of market expectations for the first half of the year with operating profit up from last year, thanks to a series of new business wins.

Lord Tim Bell
Lord Tim Bell

The group, which also owns PR agency Bell Pottinger, research agency Opinion Leader and sports marketing firm Fast Track says it now expects to be back in profit by the end of the year.

Lord Bell, chairman of Chime Communications, says: “The Group overall in the first four months of 2010 has continued the progress made in 2009 with good growth. We expect to outperform the 2009 first half year operating income and operating profit and to be ahead of both budget and market expectations.

“Our new business pipeline is full with the value of new business wins in the first quarter of 2010 over 30% higher than the same period in 2009, which was a record performance for the company. 77% of forecast operating income for 2010 is now committed, compared to 75% at this time last year.”

Bell attributes the growth to its work helping Qatar Holdings acquire Harrods this week.

He says: “We have continued to control our fixed costs. Salary increases have only been given for promotions or increased responsibility and we have continued to increase the proportion of our expenditure that is variable and dependent on performance. We expect to be cash positive by 31st December 2010.”

“Our overall strategy is to manage our business on a cautious basis with careful cost control, and we are very pleased with our performance so far in 2010.”

In March, the group posted a 14% increase in full-year pre-tax profits to £18.8m, announcing it had acquired sports marketing agency Essentially Group and market research and data consultancy Tree (London) Limited.

Adrian Kearsey, an analyst at Evolution Securities, says: “We anticipate the investors will respond well and expect the shares to breakout of their recent trading range over the coming week.”

He adds: “We anticipate sports marketing is set to do especially well. It has a decent string of contracts providing reasonable visibility, has successfully integrated the Essentially acquisition providing broad coverage of the sector and should be a chief beneficiary of the 2012 Olympics.”

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