Growth continues at independent communications consultancy

Independent communications consultancy Freshwater UK plc has today published annual results for 2014-15 showing revenue growing for a second successive year.

In the year ending 31 August 2015, Freshwater saw turnover rise two per cent to £4.20m, including a four per cent increase in revenue from fees and commission to £3.49m.

The group has seen revenue increase in the last two years by a total of 11%, following a shift in strategy that has involved a greater focus on the London market and the closure of small, unprofitable offices in Leeds, Edinburgh and Belfast.

Staff numbers at Freshwater’s Cardiff headquarters and in London have grown, the latter prompting a move to larger, newly-refurbished offices in Clerkenwell, central London. 

The group now has a 55-strong team and 130 clients across a wide range of sectors including healthcare, transport, energy, education, professional services and consumer. 

“The strategy shift has been hugely successful, especially when you consider the 11% growth figure would be more than doubled if you took Cardiff and London separately as the two continuing operations,” said Steve Howell, founder and chief executive.

“We do still have clients and win new business in the north of England and Scotland, but we find we can meet their needs very effectively through a combination of a strong London presence and a network of regional consultants, supported by our digital and creative specialists.

“With some regional clients we have even successfully supplemented this by arranging for staff and consultants to work from their premises for the duration of a project.”

The group’s regional and sectoral breadth is reflected in its top ten clients by revenue in 2014-15: Thompsons Solicitors, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, Unite, North West London Foundation NHS Trust, Welsh Government, Barts Health NHS Trust, Cavendish Square Group, Specsavers, University of South Wales and First TransPennine Express.

New business wins in the year included the #YellowWelly campaign for Royal National Lifeboat Institution, product launches in London for the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, a campaign to promote the eastern leg of HS2 for a partnership of North of England city councils and UK-wide media training for Associated British Ports.

The year also saw Freshwater win the 2014 PRCA Public Affairs Award for ‘best in-house/agency collaboration’ with the League Against Cruel Sport for its #WhatTheFox campaign.

“This varied client projects reflects the wide range of specialist and sectoral expertise we have across the Freshwater team,” said Steve Howell.

“Over the 18 years since the business was formed, we have consistently delivered great work for our clients, but this is the best all round team we have ever had. It blends experience – including some people who have been with us from the early days – with fresh young talent. And between them they have expertise in every communication channel and a wide range of sectors.

“The results are a credit to the group’s managing director Angharad Neagle and the new, younger senior management team she is developing by promoting people internally and recruiting selectively.

“I think we have also gained from our long standing policy of paying interns and graduate recruits the Living Wage – which is now reflected in accreditation by the Living Wage Foundation – because this is not only demonstrates our business values but also allows us to attract talented people coming into the industry.”

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Preliminary results for the year ending 31 August 2015 

Highlights 2015 2014
Turnover increased 2% £4,198,192 £4,127,178
Revenue increased 4% £3,490,737 £3,355,598
Operating profit increased 22% £670,503 £550,149


The full results are available on the investor section of the group’s website – www.freshwater-uk.com.

 


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