NEWS10 March 2010

‘Very disappointing’ research performance mars Chime results

Financials UK

UK— Chime Communications’ “best results ever” have been marred by the performance of the group’s research division, which includes agencies Opinion Leader, Brand Democracy, and Facts International.

In what Chime called a “very disappointing” set of results, operating income for 2009 in the research division fell 17% from £7m to £5.8m and the arm posted a loss of £0.2m for the period. Revenue was also down from £12.1m to £8.7m.

At the half year mark last year revenue was down 38% to £4.6m while operating income fell 26% to £3m. Operating loss was £23,000 compared to profit of £460,000 the previous year.

The firm said: “The marketplace has been affected by the economic downturn but our businesses have also underperformed.”

Within the division Chime said that Facts International had performed “very well” and that the firm and its management would be used as a basis for restructuring the whole division.

Chime said that the £2m acquisition of Tree, which was completed today, would provide opportunities for growth and that it expects the research division to “show a profit in the first six months of the year and continue to grow thereafter”.

Group-wide, in what chairman Lord Tim Bell (pictured) hailed as the “best results ever”, operating income was up 10% to £123.1m and operating profit rose 10% to £20.1m.

Last week, the co-chairs of Chime’s research division, Deborah Mattinson and Viki Cooke, left the firm to start their own company. Today’s statement confirmed that Crispin Beale of Facts International has taken over as CEO of the division.