LONDON--Huntsworth, which owns Grayling, Red Consultancy and Citigate, has reported like-for-like revenue growth of 0.5 percent in the first half of 2012.

Revenues reached £88.2m for the first six months of this year. There was a marked improvement in profitability, up 18.6 percent to £13.7m.

Grayling, which accounts for almost half of Huntsworth's income, saw its revenues decline by one percent during the period in question. Citigate also shrank, by 4.6 percent, while Red Consultancy and Huntsworth Health grew their revenues by 13.1 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

Huntsworth chief executive Peter Chadlington said that the improvement in operating profits was due to a "rigorous cost control combined with the changing profile of the Group’s revenue stream gathering pace with global and multi-office revenues growing strongly in the period and now accounting for almost half of Group revenues."

"These large multi-office account wins, which are typically on multi-year contracts, have taken time to come on stream but are now established and providing a firm revenue base across most markets, despite the challenging macro-economic environment which is increasingly impacting the  expected  decline in smaller single office revenues."

Since consolidating 26 brands into four in 2010, Huntsworth has experienced challenging trading conditions. Earlier this year, it was announced that Grayling CEO Michael Murphy will step down from his role.

Profitability at Grayling improved by 30 percent in the first half of this year, with multi-office client revenues up by 10 percent.

"The international pipeline is strong and over 50 percent larger than last year, although this  is set against a challenging economic backdrop with smaller single country clients continuing to reduce in number and US public affairs revenues having slowed, as expected, in the run-up to the forthcoming election," said Chadlington.

Citigate, meanwhile, continues to suffer from a tough global M&A market, recording revenues of £12m in the first half of 2012.

Huntsworth's net debt is £69.6m, compared to £71.1m at the end of 2011. "Cash generation  remains good and with a reduced future deferred consideration  profile, the Group is expected to deleverage," said Chadlington.

"We naturally remain cautious given the macro environment but progress in our multi-office and digital revenues are encouraging with a robust pipeline of new business for the second half and beyond."