|34 Chime Communications |
|Revenue ($ in millions)||2006||2005||% chg|
Chime Communications is the holding company for the U.K.'s biggest public relations group (Bell Pottinger, Good Relations, Smart Company, Harvard, Insight, Resonate, De Facto); a research group (Opinion Leader Research, Ledbury and Facts International); and an advertising and marketing services group that includes specialist agencies in financial services (Teamspirit), property marketing (TTA) and contract publishing (Rare). Publicly held Chime reported operating income (its terminology for revenue in this report) of $144.3 million worldwide, up 26.3%, in 2006 and profit of $14.5 million, up 3.5%. Operating profit margin was 15.6% vs. 13.2% in 2005. The marketing organization's PR unit accounts for 60.7% of operating income, down from 63% in 2005; advertising and marketing services is credited with 33.4%, up from 30%; and research, 5.9%, down from 7%. Chime boosted its agency division in March 2007 by buying Fast Track for about $30 million. Fast Track, founded in 1998 by former Olympians Alan Pascoe, Edward Leask and Jon Ridgeon, is a leading sports marketing agency in the U.K. In February 2007, Chime acquired 75% of Facts International, a fieldwork research business, and merged it into its research sequence. Chime's broad marketing services offerings keeps a lot of business "inhouse." For example, clients served by more than one of the company's group numbered 215 in 2006, up from 183 in 2005. Those clients represented 54% of operating income in 2006 vs. 44% in 2005. Non-U.K. clients accounted for 32% of income in 2006 vs. 30% in 2005. Outside the U.K., Chime entered the year with four wholly-owned offices in Frankfurt, Munich, Dubai and Boston, but soon expanded to Washington where it formed an office of Bell Pottinger Sans Frontieres, and opened offices in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, all reporting to the Dubai Middle East headquarters. WPP's 2005 annual report says WPP owns 21.8% of Chime.
Lord Tim Bell, chmn; Christopher Satterthwaite, group chief exec
Chime Communications/14 Curzon St., London, W1J 5HN/Phone: 44-20-7861-8515/Fax: 44-20-7861-8516/URL: www.chime.plc.uk
An asterisk (*) indicates figures are Ad Age estimates.