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FIRST profit almost triples to £4.6m in 'very strong' year

The increases were thanks in part to a one-off major series of events for a global client across 17 countries
10/10/2018

Pictured: Scale and diversity of client base broadened

Pre-tax profit at FIRST rose by almost £3 million to £4.6m in 2017 in a “very strong year” for the agency.

And turnover rose more than £20m, from £33.9m in 2016 to £57m last year, according to accounts filed at Companies House for the year ending 30 September 2017. The increases were thanks in part to a one-off major series of events for a global client across 17 countries that contributed 44 per cent of the increase in gross profit from £15.4m in 2016 to £22.6m in 2017.

Director Peter Godfrey, in the strategic report accompanying the accounts, said: “The board of directors are extremely satisfied with how the company has performed.

“Over the last 12 months we persisted in driving transformational change across our agency, from the breadth of our capabilities, the size and expertise of our teams to the scale and diversity of our client base.”

He added that BKA, acquired in 2016, has been fully integrated into the US First operation and has added significant value.

“Our desire to align our major accounts has been implemented, with some six accounts now managed on a global basis, he said. "The group has remained highly focused on its core business strategy in order to deliver its results, which continue to power through.

“2016/2017 was a very strong year. We continue to set challenging targets for all our regions and we saw positive growth across all offices. Meeting or beating our plan remains key to funding future growth through investments in our capabilities and our teams.

“It is also important to report that this year was an exceptional year due to a unique one-off major series of events for a global client that we do not expect to be repeated at this volume in the short term. This set of events across 17 countries contributed 44 per cent of the increase in gross profit for the year and the challenge to the business will be to replace and enhance this contribution going forward.”

FIRST, formerly known as First Protocol, has a strategy driven through five pillars: financial success; increase client engagement; re-engineer and improve; service expansion; and talent development.

In late 2017, the group acquired the agencies Clive and First Singapore, adding almost 100 new staff to the business and taking the total global headcount to more than 200.

Godfrey added: “A focus for the forthcoming period will be the assimilation of these operations into our organisation and they are expected to add significantly to our capabilities and talent in the same way that BKA did in the US.”

In March this year the group opened First Events Agency in Ireland, with branches also registered in France and Belgium. 


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