Serviceplan Group: Balance 2014/2015

Munich House of Communication
CEO Florian Haller

Digitalization and internationalization key growth drivers: Serviceplan Group closes financial year 2014/2015 with yet another superlative: € 304 million turnover and a sales increase of 21 percent

The Serviceplan Group closed the 2014/2015 financial year with a sales increase of 21 percent and turnover of € 304 million. This puts Europe's largest independent communications agency again in this year above the industry average. Internationally, the group continues to grow exceedingly well; as in previous years, Serviceplan International is an important driver, with growth of more than 55 percent.

Munich, 23 July 2015 - The Serviceplan Group, the largest owner-managed communications agency in Europe, once again looks back on another successful twelve months, its 44th financial year, 2014/2015, which ran from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015.  Serviceplan's preliminary figures, published today, show it is almost three times as successful as the majority of German advertising and communications agencies, which, at this year's GWA Spring Monitor, looked to a bright future with a sales increase of 7.9 percent. The Serviceplan Group's balance sheet shows a double-digit growth of 21 percent.

The Group generated a gross income (fees and commissions) of € 304 million (2013/2014: € 252 million). Staff numbers also increased in the past financial year. Currently, the agency group has around 2,800 people nationally and internationally, with the number of employees growing in the last year by 890 (2013/2014: almost 1,900).

The large increase is mainly due to the acquisition of the Bremen e-commerce agency hmmh, as well as the expansion of international locations. The per capita turnover is € 110,000 (2013/2014: € 134,000). International revenue amounted in the financial year to € 59 million - representing an increase of 55.3 percent compared to € 38 million in 2013/2014.

Florian Haller, CEO of the Serviceplan Group: "Digitalization and internationalization are the main pillars of the Serviceplan Group's growth. With these two success factors we have made important steps this year on our way to becoming the first international communications agency with German roots. In the coming year we are concentrating even more on the human factor. Without dedicated and creative employees this tremendous growth would not have been possible. With the Creative Campus Munich, a joint training project with the Steinbeis University Berlin, we are investing even more in the future of our employees."

Digitalization and internationalization as growth drivers of the Group

Most the agency group divisions recorded above average growth rates: The Serviceplan branded agencies, which are responsible for integrated campaigns and the special disciplines of sales promotion, dialogue and public relations, contributed 26 percent and € 79 million, accounting for the major proportion of the group's total sales (2013/2014: 32 percent). Serviceplan Solutions, the holding company founded in 2012 to combine business implementation, generated a profit of €11 million, making up just under four percent of total revenue.

The second strongest pillar remains the agency group for digital communication run under the brand Plan.Net. In Germany's largest digital agency, the international component has been excluded since the 2013/2014 financial year. Plan.Net contributes € 75 million, making 24.7 percent of total group turnover.

The Mediaplus media agency, which contributes nearly 22 percent to the Group's total turnover, was able to increase its sales by 24.5 percent and increase its turnover to € 66 million. The two other brands operating independently within the Serviceplan Group; Facit - the market research subsidiary of the Serviceplan Group, and the agency group Saint Elmo's earned together €14 million, thus accounting for nearly five percent of total group sales.

The successful growth resulted largely from the expansion of existing customer business and from winning more than 200 new customers and national budgets, as well as nearly 100 new customers and budgets internationally.

In Germany the following budgets, among others, were gained or regained: MINI, WMF, L'Oréal, Thüga and Penny. The most important customers gained at international locations were BMW (France and China), Heineken / Strongbow (International), Emmi (Switzerland), Granarolo (Italy), BNP Baripas Real Estate (Italy), Metro (China ), Katjes (Austria), Westin (Dubai) and Flyeralarm (Belgium).

In the past financial year, sites abroad contributed a nearly 20 percent share of sales (2013/2014: 15 per cent) making it an important, steadily growing part of total revenues.

Serviceplan again gains top positions in creative rankings – Expansion  of Serviceplan International

Serviceplan occupied second place in the 2014 creative rankings of trade magazine "Horizont" as well as those of "Werben & Verkaufen" – in the previous year the Serviceplan Group took the top position both two rankings. At the end of 2014 Serviceplan also reached second place in the Red Box rankings. For the 51st time the Art Directors Club, Germany (ADC) has awarded the best works of the German creative industry with the Serviceplan Group receiving a total of eight nails. At the London International Awards (LIA), the Serviceplan Group was the "Independent Agency of the Year" of 2014. The specialist agency Serviceplan Health & Life climbed in the Healthcare Marketing Rankings 2015 to 1st place and the dialogue agency Serviceplan One was awarded a total of 23 prizes at the DDP 2015 (German Dialogue Marketing Award) and proclaimed "Best Dialogue Agency of the Year".

The Serviceplan Group will also raise its creative profile in future. At the end of the year Markus Kremer and Thomas Heyen switch to Serviceplan International as directors at the Elbhof. They both come from Jung von Matt, and bring a lot of creative experience, including 10 Cannes Lions and more than 150 national and international awards. Serviceplan International supervises the global creative budgets of customers such as BMW or the Heineken's Strongbow apple ciders brand, from the House of Communication in Hamburg. The current film project by Sönke Wortmann, "Germany - Made by Germany" which made a self portrait of Germany on June 20, 2015 and comes out in cinemas next year, is administered by Serviceplan International. In addition, the agency is active for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Alexander Schill, CCO of the Serviceplan Group: "The internationalization of the group is a great opportunity, especially for creative people. With our ever-growing team at Serviceplan International in Hamburg, we were able to implement numerous global campaigns over the past financial year and implement exciting projects. This is pure inspiration."

Some other of the Group's awards: In March 2015 Plan.Net, together with Serviceplan, was proclaimed the most successful agency by the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW) in their digital creative rankings. The Plan.Net group occupies the top spot both in both sales and creative rankings as the agency group simultaneously took first place in the BVDW Internet agencies ranking.

The Mediaplus group continues to be top creative; the most prestigious media sector award, the German Media Prize, was awarded in March 2015 for the 17th time in Munich. With this, Mediaplus holds a total of 29 German Media Prizes. For 15 years, Mediaplus has defended, uninterrupted, its sovereign leading position as the most successful agency in the history of the German Media Prize.

Internationalization of the Group on course for success - Move to the Elbhof in Hamburg

In Russia, Europe's largest independent agency group has acquired a majority stake in "Louder Aktiv". The agency, with headquarters in Moscow, has 70 employees and its focus on events, activation, PR and trend marketing in the fields of classical and digital completes the services range of Serviceplan Russia.

In addition, Serviceplan has been present in the UK since the start of 2015. Its cooperation with Creston Unlimited, a significant player in the UK and the USA, ensures customers from London, Bristol, and New York can be cared for. Many international corporations have their headquarters and marketing centres in London, and can thus be serviced locally by the Serviceplan Group communications specialists, and supplied comprehensively with communications services.

Latin America is covered by our partner Ariadna, with offices in Buenos Aires, Bogota, Lima, Mexico City, Miami, Panama City, Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo. While Spanish partner Publips is present in Madrid and Valencia.

Markus Noder, Managing Director of Serviceplan International, was satisfied with the past financial year: "We have had another record year internationally and made a huge step with more than 50 percent growth."

In Germany there is news from the north and the west of the republic. The home of all Serviceplan Group agencies in the Hanseatic city of Hamburg since the beginning of 2015 is the "Elbhof", a 1904-built office building directly at the Baumwall. It opened in March with a huge party, a welcoming speech by Hamburg's mayor Olaf Scholz and more than 400 guests. The Serviceplan Group also opened another design agency with two strong women at the head; Martina Kunert and Christine Lischka are the two managing directors of the newly founded agency, Serviceplan Design Hamburg.

Exactly one year after the establishment of Serviceplan Cologne, the successful development of the site by partner Tobias Grewe is showing comprehensive developments. Since January this year, Tobias Liu has joined the agency management as Managing Director Consulting, and is applying his digital expertise to significant initiatives in integrated positioning. In addition, Serviceplan Cologne has strengthened its services portfolio with the acquisition of the communications agency brandrelation, and with it the commitment of Oliver Grüttemeier as Managing Director Creation; its team grows with this from ten to twenty employees. The merge of these two agency areas doubles the fee volume.

Mediaplus the only German media agency to achieve RECMA top grade A +

At the beginning of July 2015, the Mediaplus Group was the only German media agency to be awarded the top grade of A + in independent French market research institute, RECMA's current "Compitches Report". It also retained the awarded status "Dominant" in the overall qualitative evaluation, which it was first awarded last year. The result is that Mediaplus was the most successful media agency in Germany during the last calendar year. In autumn 2014, Mediaplus had first-class results in the categories pitches, growth, management, internationality, customer portfolio, and innovation worldwide, making it the most innovative agency in Germany and best independent agency worldwide. In addition, Mediaplus was the second largest independent media agency worldwide.

With a total billing volume of € 2.7 billion, the procurement joint venture MagnaGlobalMediaplus with partner agencies UM, Initiative, Mediaplus, Plan.Net and Mediascale, takes third place in the current RECMA rankings, forcing the Aegis Carat network down to 4th place.

The Mediaplus Group's newly acquired customers during the last financial year include Dextro Energy, Zott, Continental Foods (Erasco brand), the Wöhrl Group / Sinn Leffers and Delica (Café Royal brand ).

Andrea Malgara, Managing Director of the Mediaplus Group: "We are proud of these results, particularly of the services provided by our employees and teams. And in the coming financial year we will be focussing on our innovative media planning tools and processes to align these qualitatively, and not just quantitatively, to the future."

At the international level of the Mediaplus group there have been personnel innovations. Thilo Krämer became the new Managing Director of Mediaplus International in March 2015. The 48-year-old, who was Managing Director of Mediaplus in Hamburg from April 2012 took over from Volker Helm, who has left the group at the end of 2014. His duties in Hamburg were taken on by Andreas Fuhlisch.

The Plan.Net group continues to grow, expanding its e-commerce expertise

The Serviceplan Group strengthened its services portfolio with the acquisition of one of the leading agencies in Germany in the field of Digital Commerce, hmmh multimediahaus AG, at the beginning of the last financial year. Hmmh was integrated into the Plan.Net group, the Serviceplan Group's digital communication experts. The Plan.Net group thus grew by more than 300 employees, becoming the largest, and leading, digital agency in Germany.

The successful growth of the Plan.Net group spans, moreover, all specialized agencies. The growth drivers included, in particular, the areas of e-commerce, business intelligence / Big Data, Media, Performance Marketing, e-Dialog, social media and mobile. The positive result was primarily due to the acquisition of new communications, media and performance budgets such as Bosch Home Appliance, Crocs, Develey, Avira Operations, Delica, Metro Cash & Carry, Mizuno, ZDF, FriendScout24 and "e as easy ", and the expansion of business with existing customers are reached.

Manfred Klaus, Managing Director of the Plan.Net group: "With our comprehensive consulting and success-oriented implementation expertise in all relevant digital disciplines, we have this year created relevant communications solutions for our customers from a single source. By expanding our expertise, especially in the e-commerce and Big Data field, we will further expand our integrated agency model with the aim of achieving success for our clients."

Beacons, Shopping2020 and more - innovations in the House of Communication

Innovation Day belongs, next to best brands, to the most important industry events in Germany. In September 2014, around 400 guests celebrated the 10th Innovation Day in the House of Communication. Dr. Ian Robertson, member of the board of the BMW Group and responsible for sales and marketing, was awarded the title "CMO of the Year" for the first time as part of the anniversary event and in its subsequent evening event.

Another innovative project from the past financial year was the Serviceplan Brand Satellite, an innovative customer touchpoint, which enables the analogue and digital worlds to connect. Developed by Serviceplan Design, it presents itself, depending on its application, as a pop-up store, flagship store, mobile exhibition stand, event location or classic kiosk.

The Serviceplan Group's House of Communication in Munich has been home, since autumn 2014, to the biggest showcase for beacons in Germany. With 120 beacons installed in the indoor and outdoor areas of the Briennerstraße location, all aspects and components of the value chain, and thus, the point of sale of the future, will be demonstrated.

In addition, the weShop, which caused a media sensation in Germany, points to the future. As experts call increasingly loudly for a digitalization campaign in retail stores, Serviceplan has responded with a unique project. Together with leading international shopfitters, the Vitrashop Group and its technology partners Cancom, Cisco and NEC, the House of Communication in Munich created the so called weShop. The innovative, around 50 square meters large, smart showroom demonstrates how the real and virtual worlds can harmonize in a retail setting.

Creative Campus Munich opens

The growth of the Serviceplan Group ensures increases in the number of employees. Hence further training within the Serviceplan Group has become even more of a priority. The Serviceplan Group's training initiative has made a important new step in the financial year. Together with the Steinbeis School of Management and Innovation (Steinbeis SMI), Serviceplan has opened the Creative Campus Munich, implementing a unique training concept for managers, creatives, marketing, and communications experts in Munich.  Steinbeis offers its courses and certificate programmes, while the agency group uses the premises for its extensive staff development programme. Serviceplan and Steinbeis offer part-time Bachelor and Master level degree courses there. The new study centre is led by Jens Plath, the longtime Serviceplan Group Personnel Director, who has established himself as an independent HR Consultant from 1st July and, in this new role, together with Carsten Rasner, Director of Steinbeis-SMI, will develop and manage the new Centre. Winfried Bergmann took over from Jens Plath on 1 July 2015 as new Personnel Director of the Serviceplan Group. The Managing Director Consulting position at Serviceplan Campaign has been taken on by Michael Jaeger.

The Mediaplus Group has successfully launched "Building Best Talents" a new, unique staff development programme. "Building Best Talents" specifically promotes talented senior level employees, to prepare them for future leadership roles. The programme is designed to complement and extend the wide range of existing training programmes that are open to all employees within the Serviceplan Group's campus programme.

Outlook

Florian Haller takes a satisfied look at the past financial year and is optimistic about the Serviceplan Group's next steps: "An exciting and successful year for the Serviceplan Group has ended. I would, at this point, like to thank all our employees in Germany and the growing number of locations around the world for their immense commitment and shared vision. The coming year will be no less exciting; we are planning openings in new countries, as well as the development of Houses of Communication at current locations. " 

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Claudia Kirchmair

Claudia Kirchmair

Corporate Communication & PR

+49 89 2050 2273