Paul Taaffe
Paul Taaffe

Huntsworth’s Grayling-led PR group reported a 5.4 percent drop to $47.2M in first-half revenues as CEO Paul Taaffe dumped unprofitable client contracts to get it back on track.

The communications sector, which also includes Citigate Dewe Rogerson and Red, suffered an 18.1 percent operating profit fall to $3.5M.

Grayling revenues fell 7.0 percent to $24.8M. It swung to a $399K loss from a $520K year ago profit.

The unit’s lackluster performance was due largely to a profitability decline in Europe, one-off Middle East contract profits last year and a number of restructuring costs. Grayling’s profitability strengthened in the US and UK.

Taaffe expects Grayling’s results will improve during the second half.

Huntsworth’s PR woes overshadowed a robust performance in its dominant healthcare operation.

The firm posted an 8.0 percent hike in revenues to $132M and a 9.0 percent rise in pre-tax headline profit to $14.3M.

Healthcare will receive a major second-half boost with the inclusion of financial results from Giant Creative Strategy, which was acquired July 16 in a $72M deal.