Chime Communications, the London-headquartered group chaired by Margaret Thatcher’s favourite PR pundit Sir Tim Bell, reported on Monday a 36% decline in pre-tax profits for the year to December 31.

Profit of £9.1 million ($12.93m; €14.71m) was restrained by a one-off charge of £7.1m relating to layoffs and general cost reduction.

Sir Tim also revealed that Chime is reviewing the options for its flagship advertising agency, the former hotshop HHCL and Partners which has recently shed major accounts like yak’s hair – among them egg, the Automobile Association and leading soft drink brand Tango. One option on the cards is selling a minority stake in HHCL to one of the global agency networks.

Prior to its accounts leakage, HHCL was the UK’s nineteenth largest agency with just over 200 staff and a reputation for quirky advertising. Some cynics believe the kiss of death was administered when it was voted ‘Agency of the Decade’ at the end of the 90s by UK trade magazine Campaign.

Data sourced from: The Times (London); additional content by WARC staff