M&C Saatchi celebrates another record year as 'integrated approach' pays off

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The Independent Online

The veteran Soho Mad Men who run M&C Saatchi were yesterday celebrating another year of record revenues as the advertising group defied the tough economic climate by expanding beyond traditional ads into new areas such as mobile, customer loyalty programmes and sports marketing.

The Olympics helped to drive revenues up 13 per cent to £75.4m at the UK arm last year, with headline operating profits surging 17 per cent, despite the wider market being flat at best for TV and press.

David Kershaw, its chief executive, credited new account wins including National Trust, Peroni, Intercontinental Hotels and Virgin Holidays, as well as existing clients such as NatWest and Transport for London.

The media group won more "integrated" business, by offering clients a range of marketing services and not just advertising.

M&C, which operates 27 offices around the world, saw group turnover rise 11 per cent to £169.5m.

Profits before exceptional items jumped by a tenth to £17.2m, but fell to £9.9m on a pre-tax basis because of an accounting change related to the value of future share awards. The dividend jumped by 10 per cent to 4.95p a share, which means another payday for Mr Kershaw and fellow directors Maurice Saatchi, Jeremy Sinclair and Bill Muirhead, who own around 7 per cent each.

They collected nearly £2m worth of shares each last month, after a bonus scheme paid out.

The quartet, who founded M&C in 1995, are all between their late fifties and late sixties, but have no intention of quitting.

"We still enjoy it and it still seems to be working," Mr Kershaw said. "The company is only 17 years old – it's just in adolescence."