Spotlight – Tempus targets global markets

Tempus Group, the UK-based media communications consultancy, is expected to reveal a rise in profits ahead of the industry average next week as the group copes better than most others with the advent of global competition.

Tempus Group, previously known as CIA Group, advises companies on their media campaigns, and has offices in 22 countries. Major clients include Nike and Microsoft.

Ashley Martin, the group’s European finance director, is bullish about the company’s performance over the last 12 months. ‘The European market is expected to grow at around 6% this year, but our analysts forecast our growth at roughly twice that,’ he says.

Analysts’ consensus forecast for the company’s 1998 results is #12.4m, compared to an actual result of #9.5m for the previous 12-month period.

With the media industry so reliant on intangible assets, two new accounting standards – FRS 10 and FRS 11, relating to goodwill and intangible assets – loom large for Tempus. Under the new rules, brands will have to be included on balance sheets, and depreciated year-by-year, instead of being written off.

Martin is confident the company can take the change in its stride. ‘We’ve been dealing with it in the US for a few years now. It’s not an issue for us,’ he says bullishly.

In 1997, Tempus Group acquired MarMedia, a Swedish and Norwegian media consultancy. ‘It was a very big acquisition for us, as we had to raise #18m from the stock market,’ says Martin.

A chartered accountant, Martin joined Tempus Group as group financial controller from drinks group Grand Metropolitan ten years ago. In 1993 he became Tempus Group’s European finance director.

One of just two UK independent advertising media groups, Tempus is up against giant media operations such as the US-based Omnicom. The advertising campaigns these groups fight to advise on are increasingly multimedia in scope, ranging from newspapers to the internet, and spanning national frontiers.

‘There are 12 advertising agency groups specialising in the media, but nobody has achieved a strong global position yet,’ says Martin.

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