Growth of 23% predicted for Holding Group billings

The Holding Group of companies expects its billings to top US$381 million this year, with the fastest growth coming from its public relations and direct marketing businesses.

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By  Tim Addington Published  July 9, 2006

The Holding Group of companies expects its billings to top US$381 million this year, with the fastest growth coming from its public relations and direct marketing businesses. The figure is a rise of around 23% on last year, according to its chief executive officer Joseph Ghossoub. The company, which includes advertising agencies Team Y&R and Intermarkets, public relations firms Asda’a and Polaris, direct marketing agency Wunderman and media buying arm Mediaedge:cia, also announced plans to open offices in Sudan and Oman by the end of the year. It now has 35 offices across the region, with new operations opened in Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, Qatar and Bahrain. During a press conference held in Dubai last week just days after Wunderman won a coveted gold Lion at this year’s Cannes International Advertising Festival, Ghossoub said: “This has been a great year for THG and it is not over yet. “The group has witnessed double-digit growth year-on-year for the last several years, with more than 20% annual growth recorded for each of the last three years. The trend is expected to continue unabated as the company moves into new markets and countries in the region.” While refusing to give more specific details on how THG’s individual businesses were performing, he said that PR and DM were the fastest growers albeit from a low base. He said: “These two parts of the business are growing the fastest. Clients are realising the efficiency of having a specialised company on that side.” Ghossoub, who is also the chairman and world president of the International Advertising Association, said that in today’s competitive cost-driven market, agencies had to work much more than ever before on acquiring and retaining clients. “Now customers are harder to get these days and they are harder to keep. Keeping a customer is harder than it was 10 or 15 years ago.” He added: “We in the Middle East are at a critical stage, where radical change is more than a possibility — it is a certainty,” he said. “We are charged with two great responsibilities: to develop and market our regional industry as a vital and capable force in the international community, and to accurately and effectively market our societies and cultures to the world. At THG, we are working on both of these goals in tandem.” He also said that THG was always looking to add to its business saying the company was a “good opportunity finder”. And he hinted that new announcements about “ground breaking research” and an education and training programme would be made towards the end of the year.

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