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Full-service demand helps Ashfield profits grow

Ashfield Meetings and Events global MD Nicola Burns talks end of year results and Brexit

Ashfield Meetings and Events global managing director Nicola Burns has said a growth in client demand for the company's full-service offer has helped it achieve a 12 per cent surge in pre-tax profits.

Burns also said a growth in its US business and diversification of its clientele have also driven strong growth figures, which saw earnings before interest and tax rise from £4.91m in 2015 to £5.482m last financial year.

"Obviously we've shown growth which is always good to see. From our view point we're seeing growth in areas that we're particularly conscious on expanding, including more full service events and being able to offer clients more," she said.

"The last two years or so have been particularly focused on growing our US business and we've seen very strong growth in the US over last 12 months with new accounts coming in. An area of continued focus of growth.

"We also have been looking at the opportunities to do business outside the pharma area under our brand SPARK THINKING. We've ben lucky to win some big client accounts under that brand name.

"We have a phrase internally, of health first, sector second. As part of UDG Healthcare we're focused on healthcare, but it doesn't necessarily just mean the pharma area. It might be nutraceuticals or healthcare aligned business like health foods, and so on. It's trying to find a connection and work outside the traditional pharmaceutical."

On how Brexit would affect business, Burns said it was still early days and that it hadn't made a difference for clients. "I think we're just all trying to work out how we're going to navigate Brexit and what it means. It's something we're beginning to look at as a business but until decisions are made at a governmental level, there's not a lot you can do," she said.

"We have a lot of European and international-based clients. They don't seem concerned about it. It's certainly not stopping them coming to a UK-based business."

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