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TRO invests more than £1 million in talent in 'strong' 2016

Investment sees profit fall by £1m to £1.4m according to accounts filed at Companies House

TRO Group invested more than £1.1 million in talent as it recorded a ‘strong’ performance in 2016.

As a result of the investment, pre-tax profit at the experiential agency fell from £2.4m in 2015 to £1.4m for the year ended 31 December 2016, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Turnover was down from £34.4m to £30.2m in the same period.

Michael Wyrley-Birch, chief operating officer EMEA, said: “We are living in a world where marketing has arguably changed more in the past five years than in the past 50. For TRO, this is an exciting time indeed. Currently one of the most important global marketing trends is that we find ourselves in the midst of an experience economy. Consumers are seeking immersive and unique experiences in their lives – and brands are in a position to be able to deliver these whilst placing their product and messaging at the heart. 

“At TRO we want to invest ahead of trends and have recently introduced new talent into our business as well as upweighting investment in the training and development of our people in key strategic areas. Our recent talent focus includes our strategic offering, data analysis and the innovation of our creative technology division TROi.  We are investing not only in a team to activate live business but also in “dreamers and thinkers” to support our mission of continuing to push the boundaries of our industry.”

Writing in the report accompanying the accounts, chief executive Keith O’Loughlin said: “The board of TRO UK were pleased once again with the strong performance of the business in 2016, increasing net revenue and providing a strong platform for future growth. The success of TRO sits in context of a rapidly changing market for communications services requiring rapid evolution of agency industry.

“To build future success the board of TRO agreed a development plan and invested more than £1.1m in talent (recruitment and development) from operating profit, consequently reducing taxable profit from £2.4m to £1.4m. Investments include a continued build of the TRO Retail and TROi services which are gaining increasing presence in the market place, the building of a sponsorship consulting team and talent development programs such as the new experiential marketing degree program at Sheffield Hallam University at the internal School of Experience. The development plan will continue through 2017 and 2018.”

Turnover was reduced as part of a plan to ease non-contributing pass through costs. Gross profit increased on the year to £11.54m from £11.47m - significantly up from £10.7m in 2014 - as part of a strategic focus on increasing the ratio of fee billing.

O’Laughlin added: “The nature of our sector is such that most major clients review and retender their work on a two and three-year cycle, the board report that all reviews in 2016 resulted in reappointment for a further three years.

“The trend for clients looking for regional and global agency solutions continues with more than 60 per cent (50 per cent in 2015) of new business enquiries looking for agencies that can work in multiple markets in which enterprise we are supported by our investor group Omnicom. In the UK TRO continues to invest in the fast growth areas of retail and the use of technologies.

“The directors forecast further uncertainty as the UK navigates the Brexit process through 2017-2019 but remain confident that the agency’s broad development strategy will deliver growth throughout the period.”

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