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First Protocol eyes £500k profit after ‘accelerating’ growth

Agency posts 70 per cent profit increase for the year ended 30 September 2015

Pictured: Mark Riches, First Protocol MD

First Protocol MD Mark Riches has set the agency’s sights on a £500k operating profit for the current financial year.

Figures published this week for the year-ended 30 September 2015 reveal the London agency, which acquired New York-based experiential company Barkley Kalpak in May, grew turnover by £800k to £8.2 million, and pre-tax profit increased by 70 per cent to £239k.

Group accounts, which consolidate the performance of First Protocol’s London operation and its New York office pre-acquisition, also reveal growth, with group turnover hitting £25m, and pre-tax profits which almost doubled to £1.1m.

“We were comfortable because last year was the first of a three-year rolling plan,” Riches said. “We are happy with a 12 per cent growth in turnover in what were difficult market conditions, but that’s not the full story as group turnover increased by 25 per cent.”

This year, First Protocol recruited Barry Richards from Grass Roots Meetings & Events’ New York operation to head up its client services division, before completing a deal to acquire Barkley Kalpak. The acquisition has allowed First Protocol, which also has a Singapore office, access to Barkley Kalpak’s design video expertise.

A rebrand is also in the pipeline and Riches says the current forecast is for further growth in 2016.

“The thing I am most pleased about is the growth in operating profit that allows us to reinvest and it has gone beyond acquisitions, and being able to hire great talent, such as Barry,” he says.

“You have got to be better in this market and you have to have the best internal resources.

“The good news is that we are three quarters of the way through the year and I see that we are accelerating growth. I see more than £500k operating profit and that will allow us to invest again.”

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