Chime’s PR business hit by regional unrest

Unrest in the Middle East has had a negative impact on Chime Communications’ PR operations according to the group’s half-year report.

Although the UK-based group has reported an overall 10 per cent income boost for the first half of 2011, Chime, which owns Bell Pottinger, Good Relations and Harvard, saw PR revenues fall by 5 per cent. Operating profit for the group as a whole rose by 13 per cent to $23.8 million from $21 million in the first half of 2010.

The company said that PR was “affected by the slow down in geopolitical work as a result of the turmoil in the Middle East, a reduction in government communication work and the impact of severe debt problems in many countries”. Bell Pottinger stopped work on its lucrative contract with the Economic Development Board of Bahrain earlier this year due to political instability and emergency rule in the country.

Lord Bell, chairman of Chime, said the results were impressive given the uncertain economic and political environment. “The global market and global economy are becoming increasingly volatile and we are not immune to this continuing lack of political, social and economic stability, particularly in our public relations business. However, our advertising business is gaining market share and our sports marketing business is well placed to become the global leader at a time when sports revenues are increasing.”