Matthew Freud enjoys PR payday with £1.8m dividend

Public relations firm buoyed by increase in pre-tax profits while its chairman's take-home pay hit £2.3m last year

Matthew Freud took home almost £2.3m last year as his eponymous PR agency group, Freud Communications, enjoyed a 34% year-on-year increase in pre-tax profits.

Freud was paid £440,000 and received a dividend payment of more than £1.8m in 2010 according to the latest Companies House filing for Freud 2.0 Holdings Ltd, the holding company for the entrepreneur's business interests.

The filing shows that Freud's UK and international PR and marketing agencies delivered a pre-tax profit of £3.6m in the year, a 34% year-on-year increase. However turnover for the year dipped 9.3% from £547,000 in 2009 to £496,000 last year.

The company paid a full and final dividend of £4.2m, with Freud controlling 43.7% of the company he pocketed about £1.8m. The French agency Groupe Publicis, which owns ad networks including Saatchi & Saatchi, controlled 56.3%.

In April Freud regained control of the business – it is the second time he has sold and bought back his company – in a deal which is thought to have valued the business at more than £75m.

Freud Communications, the public relations subsidiary, which accounts for nearly all of Matthew Freud's business activities, showed a 5% increase in turnover to £34.7m. Pre-tax profits at the unit fell 12% from £6.7m to £5.9m.

The company remains almost completely dependent on its UK operation with turnover up over 30% to £25m. Turnover from "the rest of Europe" fell from £8.9m to £6.3m. The US also saw a significant turnover decline from £4.4m to £1.6m. Turnover from operations in the "rest of the world" more than doubled from £759,000 to £1.7m.

Insiders indicated that there is also a very small subsidiary called Freud International LLP, which has filed results at Companies House which are not yet able to be viewed, which should also be taken into account. If these results are also included the company says that total turnover at the two operations rose 12% to £37m and pre-tax profit grew 4.2% to £6.9m.

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Mark Sweney

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