March 20, 2012 / 9:18 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Mobile, social media steers growth at M&C Saatchi

* Pretax profit up 17 pct to 15.6 mln stg

* Revenue up 22 pct to 153.1 mln stg

* Final dividend up 15 pct to 3.50p per share

By Karen Rebelo

March 20 (Reuters) - Advertising agency M&C Saatchi reported a 17 percent rise in full-year profit helped by its rapidly growing mobile and social media platforms and expansion of global operations.

The agency, founded in 1995 by brothers Maurice and Charles Saatchi after they exited the board of Saatchi & Saatchi, raised its final dividend by 15 percent to 3.50 pence per share.

M&C Saatchi, whose clients include Google, Etihad Airways, Pernod Ricard, Commonwealth Bank of Australia , said the current year had begun well and it was benefiting from new contracts -- such as O2 -- that it won in 2011.

Full-year headline pretax profit rose to 15.6 million pounds ($24.79 million) from 13.3 million pounds a year ago.

The company said revenue grew 22 percent to 153.1 million pounds -- its best year-on-year revenue growth since it went public in 2004.

"It is difficult to quantify, but if revenue grew 22 percent, new business accounted for about half of that," Chief Executive David Kershaw told Reuters.

Like-for-like revenue from UK -- M&C Saatchi's largest market -- rose 25 percent, with strong performance at its mobile segment.

CEO Kershaw added that social media and mobile platforms would grow at twice the rate of the group's overall growth.

Shares of London-based firm were trading at 152 pence, down about a percent, at 0913 GMT on Tuesday on the London Stock Exchange.

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