Cordiant puts an end to take-over talk with profits leap

- The Cordiant group effectively nailed the take-over speculation surrounding it this week by a reporting an almost 20 per cent leap in its 1998 pre tax profits to £25.9 million.

- The Cordiant group effectively nailed the take-over speculation surrounding it this week by a reporting an almost 20 per cent leap in its 1998 pre tax profits to £25.9 million.

At the same time, the Bates network parent company declared itself on track to deliver 10 per cent operating margins this year.

The group has spent several months fending off reports that it might be a take-over target, notably for True North.

But Michael Bungey, the Cordiant chief executive, said: "With these figures we've proved ourselves to be a very healthy company which, as far as I'm concerned, isn't for sale."

He added: "I'll continue listening to people with ideas -- but only those that can add value for our clients and shareholders.

The figures reveal a drop in the group's UK operating profits to £4.5 million with operating margins falling to 11.3 per cent from 16.2 per cent the previous year.

Bungey said the number of one-off projects carried out by the group's live event specialist, HP:ICM, had produced unusually high margins in 1997, while Bates Dorland had seen its profits hit by re-investment and restructuring.

"Last year has been a recovery period for Dorlands," he commented. "But its new business is gearing up and its creative product is coming through strongly."





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