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Strong new business boosts Chime profits

LONDON - Chime Communications has posted a 20.8% rise in pre-tax profits to £6.4m in the first half of 2007, as it outperformed the market with a strong new business performance.

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The interim results, to the year ended June 30, show the UK-based marketing group reporting a 15.9% increase in operating income to £43.9m, with organic growth at 9.8%.

Chime said it outperformed the market in the three areas it operates in: pubic relations, advertising and marketing services, and research. The holding company owns the Bell Pottinger public relations group, advertising agency, VCCP, and market research agency, The Research Group.

The group said public relations is growing ahead of all other marketing commnications sectors fuelled by the need for companies to protect and build their reputations, particularly online, in light of the emergence of social networking websites.

The group performed well in new business, with Bell Pottinger chalking up wins from AOL, MTV, Cisco and World Nuclear Association.

VCCP won business from Diet Coke Plus, Carbon Trust, Hyundai and Levi Strauss, while The Research Group's new business wins included the 2012 Olympics and John Lewis.

Lord Bell, chairman of Chime Communications, said: "It's a very good performance for the half year with all our divisions growing. We have continued to outperform the market since 2004.

"A strong new business performance across the Group for the half year and a full new business pipeline makes us confident about the outcome for the year."

Chime also announced the acquisition of The Corporate Citizenship Company, a corporate responsibility consultancy.

Chime has not revealed how much it has paid for the firm, whose clients include Unilever, Ford and Cadbury Schweppes.

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