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Huntsworth gains Chinese backing in return for 20 per cent stake

Public relations group Huntsworth has signed a strategic alliance with "Asia's largest public relations group" BlueFocus Communications, which is investing 36.5m pounds into the UK company.

Public relations group Huntsworth has signed a strategic alliance with "Asia's largest public relations group" BlueFocus Communications, which is investing 36.5m pounds into the UK company.

After purchasing 63m of new shares at a 10.5% premium to their previous closing price, BlueFocus will own a 19.8% stake in the enlarged share capital of Huntsworth.

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Huntsworth also announced its results for the 2012 calendar year, with profits up 17.4% to £22.5m and over 50% of revenues coming from global and multi-office business. Revenues declined 0.3% on a like-for-like basis to £173.0m.

Huntsworth, which owns the PR business Grayling and Citigate, had been working with the Chinese company for a number of years and, said Chief Executive Lord Chadlington, the deal "cemented" the commercial relationship.

"We can now offer global support to Chinese companies through the international Huntsworth network and also provide our clients in depth service in China using the largest available Chinese PR network," he said.

BlueFocus Chief Executive and founder Oscar Zhao, who will join Huntsworth's board, said the British company's "unique mix of public relations, healthcare and digital communications" provided its Chinese clients with a global platform to expand.

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