St Ives is on the verge of making its first overseas acquisition with the purchase of a US mobile marketing specialist as part of plans to boost its international business.
Although the company does have offices in both the US and Asia, so far these have been opened by UK businesses to service international clients.
Speaking exclusively to DecisionMarketing following the publication of St Ives latest results, chief executive Matt Armitage said the firm has pinpointed global expansion and greater collaboration between its own divisions as the key drivers of growth. “We want the full suite of digital services,” he said.
While 74% of the group’s underlying operating profit is generated by marketing services businesses, over 25% of the firm’s strategic marketing revenue comes from clients based outside of the UK.
Armitage also said the group was looking to replicate the recent Occam and Amaze joint venture – Amaze One – across the group.
The company has also split its business into three divisions – strategic marketing, marketing activation and books – to improve reporting and increase transparency over each part of the business.
The strategic marketing division is organised around the three pillars of data, digital and consulting, and includes the likes of Occam, Amaze, Amaze One, Branded3, Incite and Hive. All business report direct to Armitage.
Meanwhile, the marketing activation arm is run by Nick Cole and includes print and field marketing firms Tactical Solutions and marketing print businesses Service Graphics, SP Group, and St Ives Management Services. The books division is headed up by Clays.
In terms of its results, underlying group revenue reached £175m, 6% higher than the previous half year, while group underlying profit before tax grew to £14.9m (compared to £12.9m last year), an increase of 15%, and underlying operating margin increased from 8.3% to 9.3%.
Armitage said: “This has been a very productive six months for St Ives. We have generated healthy revenue growth through increased collaboration between our businesses, further investment in new service offerings and, of course, through the continued entrepreneurial drive of our individual management teams.
“We have a very clear view of the growth opportunities that exist for us in our chosen marketing services disciplines, and we have the financial strength to take advantage of them.”
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