Newswatch – Advertising pays at Saatchis & Saatchi

Change has been the constant feature of the past 12 months at media ‘ideas’ company Saatchi & Saatchi.

Published on Monday, the global creative marketing communications group’s half-year results will be the first since last year’s demerger from Cordiant.

The year has been a period of transition which saw Saatchis – which operates from more than 150 offices in 92 countries and employs around 5,000 people – successfully tightening its stranglehold on the media industry worldwide.

The move, overseen by former finance director Wendy Smyth, saw pre-tax profits of £23.5m increase by more than 30% to £30.7m. Since then a new FD, William Cochrane, has replaced Smyth who has become director of corporate affairs.

Cochrane, who has been at Saatchis since 1982, has risen through the company as the chief financial officer throughout various divisions. Starting his career at Arthur Andersen, Cochrane joined Saatchis’ advertising division to head its finance function before becoming chief financial officer of the North American division.

Accounting within the advertising industry is simple compared to many multinationals. Billing is undertaken on a monthly basis and costs recouped within two months. Additionally, agencies have access to cash deposits to pay for expensive creative work.

For 1999, Saatchi is aiming for double-digit margins and to continue to grow earnings per share by 25%.

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