Public relations and marketing firm Creston (CRE) warns on profits for the second time in a matter of months citing project delays and clients cutting back due to uncertainty in the global economy.

The shares dive 16.9% to 101.8p as the market focuses on this part of the statement rather than a solid third quarter performance.

The £60 million cap, whose financial year runs to 31 March, says it has been advised by a number of clients, across a range of sectors, of deferments and cuts.

As a result, it expects to deliver significantly reduced revenue growth in the fourth quarter against its expectations. Due to the proximity to the year end there is no chance for it to mitigate the impact on profits.

Revenue will be flat year-on-year at £83 million with pre-tax profit slightly down on the March 2015 level at £9.9 million.

This compares with previous consensus forecasts for £85 million and £11.1 million respectively.

The company had previously issued a mild warning alongside soft first half numbers in November 2015.

The small cap is pursuing a more integrated approach between its different businesses under the Creston Unlimited banner.

House broker Liberum, which reiterates its 'buy' recommendation but cuts its price target from 190p to 170p, says the business is ‘fundamentally on track’.

Liberum notes the Unlimited strategy is bearing fruit in the form of a new clients such as Bosch Power Tools, Vodafone (VOD), Sony Mobile, McLaren and Weetabix.

Analyst Ian Whittaker says: ‘The key point is that these headwinds lie outside of Creston's control and can only be partially offset by the group’s solid underlying operations.

'The crux of the investment case for Creston is the “Unlimited” strategy which enables cross-pitching across the group – e.g. two Creston agencies can create a combined pitch for a single account.’

Issue Date: 27 Jan 2016