M&C Saatchi shares rise as Arnie helps defy ad spending slowdown

Alys Key
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Arnie met his match today as he came face to face with the animatronic made for the M&C Saatchi ad (Source: M&C Saatchi)

Shares in advertising agency M&C Saatchi rose 3.3 per cent today as the advertising and PR agency beat the gloom hovering over the industry in its first half.

One of the firm's most recent campaigns, ads involving a robot Arnold Schwarznegger for the FCA, is said to be going well as it charges towards growth for the full year.

The figures

Revenue grew 21 per cent to £121m, while profit before tax was up 17 per cent to £13.3m.

Billings climbed to £261m, up from £217m this time last year.

In the UK, like-for-like revenues grew five per cent, while in Europe they were up 15 per cent.

An interim dividend of 2.13p was announced, an increase of 15 per cent on last year.

Shares were up 3.3 per cent today.

Why it's interesting

The results come in a dark period for the advertising sector after industry giant WPP's shares suffered the biggest drop in 17 years as revenue and billings dropped.

But M&C Saatchi has been boosted by a raft of new account wins, with Dreams, Visit Britain, The Body Shop, Costa Coffee and Clinique, all signing up in the UK.

It has also focused several small in-house businesses and new offices, which management says will generate growth.

What M&C Saatchi said

Chief executive David Kershaw said: "Growth across the Group remains strong with excellent revenue and earnings increases over the first half of 2017.

"In line with our long-term strategy, we have been busy starting new businesses and opening new offices. This is the fuel for growth in years to come.

"The second half has started well with trading in line with expectations."

Read more: The UK's financial watchdog just spent £70,000 on a new logo

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