NEWS28 November 2013

Creston reports insight revenues on the up

Financials UK

UK — Marketing services group Creston has reported an 11% increase in first-half revenue for its insight businesses, which include Marketing Sciences and ICM.

Revenue generated by the insight segment in the six months to 30 September was £6.1m, versus £5.5m a year ago. Headline profit before interest and tax was £1.1m, which works out to a margin of 18% – a significant increase compared to the 1% margin reported in the same period last year.

“Marketing Sciences continues to show very strong growth on the back of a major retail client, coupled with ICM continuing its recovery,” Creston said. “Innovative research and the early adoption of digital data collection technologies have certainly had a positive impact, with Marketing Sciences exceeding one million tablet-based surveys during the period and ICM winning a Digital Impact Award for its work on the MySainsbury’s colleague community.”

New insight clients in the first half included Mobile By Sainsbury’s and HM Passport Office.

However, despite the improvements elsewhere, Creston said it closed Vitaris – a small healthcare research consultancy launched at the tail-end of 2011 – during the first-half period.

Vitaris was profitable, the firm said, “[but] its lack of critical mass in the highly competitive area of healthcare research meant that it has not performed as budgeted. As such, the offer has been closed”.

Creston group revenue – which includes the communications and healthcare business lines – was down 4% year-on-year to £35.7m.

CEO Don Elgie (pictured) said: “Revenue and profits for the six months are lower than previously anticipated, primarily as a result of volatility related to the phasing of some client work across the group and the exceptional amount of time incurred in new business activity.

“It has been a successful first half for the group in many other respects, particularly in terms of net new business wins, having secured an annualised £7.9m of work for new clients compared to £3.1m in the prior year period. These wins will start to benefit the group in the second half of the year and will help compensate for the volatility in some of our clients’ activity.”