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Engine seeks £50m for expansion abroad

LONDON - Marketing communications group Engine, owner of ad agency WCRS, is seeking £50m to fund an expansion into America and the Far East, according to reports.

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The Sunday Telegraph yesterday reported that Engine is looking to raise the money through either a listing on the stock market or a private placement of shares.

Engine, which is led by Peter Scott, joint CEO and chairman, has hired the corporate finance arm of Ingenious Media and advisers from investment bank Jefferies to help secure the funding.

In August last year the group sold a 15% stake to investment firm Loudwater Trust -- in what it described as 'first stage refinancing', to move it towards a stock market listing.

The group, which serves clients including Vodafone, Churchill Insurance and Abbey, employs more than 600 people across disciplines such as advertising, public relations and digital communications.

Earlier this month the group announced plans to hire 60 PR staff by 2010 as it sets up a new communications consultancy called Engine Business, which will incorporate the group's PR agency Mandate Communications, financial PR specialist Hogarth, design agency Totem and brand consultancy Dave.

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