Acquisitive Incepta Group – whose avid collection of public relations and marketing services companies during 2001 lifted it from 17th to 13th position in the Advertising Age world agency rankings – saw its pre-tax profits for the year to February 2002 sag 4% to £26 million ($38.07m; €41.72m).

The London-headquartered group, best known for its Citigate PR brand, was hardest hit by the downturn in fortunes of its US unit Citigate Cunningham, a specialist in technological PR. Losses at the stateside shop, although now restored to profit, retarded operating margins at Incepta’s PR division to 13%.

Overall, however, turnover rose 5% to £286.3m and group operating profit was steady at £27.8m. The dividend rose by 17% to £0.007p a share.

Commented chairman David Wright: “These results have been achieved in the face of one of the most challenging periods our industry has faced. Our budgets have been prudently prepared on the basis that there will be no year-on-year increase in revenues and this implies a second-half weighting in both revenue and profitability.”

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK) and Incepta website; additional content by WARC staff