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Chime Communications boosts operating profits by 20%

LONDON - The latest figures for Lord Bell's marketing services group Chime Communications indicate sustained growth for the company as its £30m acquisition of agency VCCP continues to bear fruit.

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In a trading update issued ahead of preliminary results for the year ending December 31, Chime posted operating profit growth of over 20% in its three divisions, public relations group Bell Pottinger, research and consultation group Opinion Leader Research and ad agency Vallance Curruthers Coleman Priest.

"Our strong trading performance in the first half of 2006 has continued in to the second half year and we expect our full-year results to be in line with expectations," Chime said in the update.

The company also said it was on track to meet objectives of its three-year plan, including raising the profit margin to 18% and increasing the number of clients shared between more than one company in the group from 130 to 155.

In addition, Chime aims to reduce its debt and expand its international presence in public affairs, corporate and financial, and advertising and marketing services sectors.

These latest figures consolidate Chime's strong performance so far this year. In September, the group reported a 62% rise in pre-tax profit for the first six months of 2006. Chime's profit margin jumped from 13.3% to 15.5% and operating income rise by 38% to £38.3m.

The group bought VCCP last June and the agency has helped to bring new business wins, including the launch of Coke Zero, Five and Associated's new freesheet London Lite, into the fold. 

However, this morning, it was revealed VCCP lost the £5m Gala Coral Group account to The Red Brick Road.

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