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Creston positive on outlook after profits climb 29%

LONDON - Marketing services group Creston has unveiled a strong set of interim results, including a 29% rise in net profit to £2.95m, and expects to continue to prove resilient to the economic downturn.

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The group, which owns a spread of marketing businesses from ad agency DLKW to market research firm ICM and direct marketing agency TMW, also continued to increase revenues.

For the six months to September 30 revenues were £41.3m, up 5.4% from the same period a year earlier.

However, it has decided it is "prudent" to reduce its interim dividend from 0.97p last year to 0.73p per share this year.

The company's share price rose 8.25% in early trading this morning to 26.25p.

Creston enjoyed a record period for new business, bringing in £11m in revenue through wins such as Aviva, Land Rover, PG Tips and T-Mobile. Its companies won more than half of the pitches they contested.

Revenues from digital activities now account for 25% of the communications side of Creston's business, having almost doubled over the past year.

The other side of the company, research, contributed £8.5m of total revenues compared to £9m last year.

Creston said its larger research companies, ICM and MSL, remain "robust", but the smaller companies CML and MSTS, which operate in the qualitative, sensory and concept testing sectors, have underperformed due to being project-based.

As a result it has closed MSTS and transferred its sensory and concept testing function to MSL.

Don Elgie, chief executive of Creston, said: "We believe that our diversified model, strong new business performance, positive cash generation and the weighting of our companies to market research, digital and direct marketing will provide resilience during a downturn in the economy." 

Read Bob Willott's view that Creston has one potential weak spot visit his blog.


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