St Ives Group has reported a 50% increase in revenue from its marketing services division to £46.7m – and 35% of group profits – as the company inches closer to its goal of marketing accounting for half of group profits.
The growth has been helped in part by its rampant acquisition programme – in the past year alone it has bought Amaze, Branded3 Search and last week signed a deal for Realise – although the firm insists nearly 15% of this been organic growth.
It first started its acquisition strategy in June 2010, buying Occam for £12m. Further deals followed, including those for Response One, Incite, and Forward Thinking. St Ives has now bought seven businesses and taken minority stakes in two more, spending nearly £100m in the process.
Overall, its half-year results for the 26 weeks ended 31 January showed group sales up 1.9% to £164.8m, with underlying pre-tax profits posting another double-digit rise, up 13.1% to £12.9m.
St Ives chief executive Patrick Martell (pictured) said: ““We are very pleased to report another strong set of results, with further progress in our strategy of building a broadly-based marketing services offering whilst moving away from the commoditised print markets.
“Having successfully completed the restructuring within our print services segment, we are continuing to build and strengthen our digital and data offering in marketing services, highlighted by the acquisition of Realise earlier this month.
“With the UK economy showing further signs of recovery and consumer confidence improving, we remain confident that the group is well positioned to make further progress in the full year.”
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