M&C Saatchi mulls launch of sports arm in Brazil and South Africa

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David Kershaw: chief executive, M&C Saatchi
David Kershaw: chief executive, M&C Saatchi

M&C Saatchi is considering rolling out its Sport & Entertainment division into Brazil, as the country gears up to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, according to David Kershaw, chief executive.

The agency’s sports division, which has had a buoyant summer thanks to a number of projects during the London 2012 Games, currently has operations in the UK, Germany and Australia.

Kershaw indicated that further growth for M&C Sport & Entertainment could be driven from international sports tournaments, particularly in Brazil.

He told Campaign: "Obviously we'll look to use our expertise in Brazil. Sports and entertainment is a growing part of our group and we’re looking at whether it makes sense to roll out [the division] into Brazil."

Kershaw said that M&C was also looking at South Africa as a market to extend its sports credentials into.

He credited much of the success of the sports and entertainment arm to M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment chief executive Steve Martin.

His comments follow last week’s news that M&C saw pre-tax profits grow 13% to £8.7m for the six months ending 30 June, a performance driven by account wins, including Spotify and Twitter.

Kershaw said the group’s sports business had a "good" Olympics, citing the agency’s work with the Olympics Delivery Authority and its management of Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of Team USA.

He said: "It was also a good period of advertising for TfL (Transport of London)."

The company’s UK operations performed strongly, with revenues up 16% to £36.3m, while group-wide revenues were up 15% to £82.8m.

The ad agency said CRM and mobile performed particularly well in the UK.

Across mainland Europe, like-for-like revenues were up 25% and operating profit grew 31%, which the group said bucked the trend against a backdrop of "macro-economic challenges".

M&C’s most dramatic performance overseas was in the Middle East and Africa, where like-for-like revenues rose 146% to £2.8m, while the Americas business grew 12% and Asia and Australia saw revenues up 12% and operating profit up 41%.

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