Huntsworth posts first profit in three years

LONDON - A year on from Lord Chadlington's boardroom coup, marketing services company Huntsworth's interim results show a small profit.

Huntsworth posted a pre-tax profit of £28,000, compared with a loss of £278,000 last time. It is the first time since September 1998 that the group, which has interests in PR and advertising, has recorded a profit.

The figures for the first half of the year do not include the group's recent acquisitions of Harrison Cowley, the regional PR network, and PBC, the healthcare communications agency. They do include figures from existing Huntsworth companies Counsel, the PR agency formerly known as Holmes & Marchant, and Master Guide, the marketing consultancy.

Since taking over as chief executive and installing a new board, Lord Chadlington has cut Huntsworth's staff by one third, restructured the business and instigated a cost-cutting drive.

In a rare glimmer of optimism from the media industry, Lord Chadlington said the group has "great confidence for the future", referring to recent client wins including John Lewis and Pfizer.

Huntsworth also announced the appointment of Roger Selman as group finance director. He has held a similar position at International Public Relations (formerly Shandwick International).

Lord Chadlington was the founder of Shandwick International, once the largest PR consultancy in the UK and now owned by the Interpublic Group of Companies.

The results boosted Huntsworth stock this morning, which was up 12.2% to 27.5p.

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