Communications group Big Cat has unveiled plans to double its turnover by launching a new European entertainment consultancy.
The Birmingham firm plans to add £1.4 million onto annual revenues after joining forces with AMP Entertainment to establish operations in Barcelona and Paris to deliver projects across the continent.
The new operation’s work has already begun by handling the negotiation and set-up of the European premiere of Star Trek: The Exploration in Spain and contracts including the World Badminton Championships and the French Tennis Association have also been won.
Big Cat Group chief executive Nick Morgan said that while tough economic times had impacted all of the firm’s markets – events, media buying and public relations – the changes have opened doors in some places.
The agreement drawn up with AMP follows several years of joint work between the two firms.
Mr Morgan said: “We saw lots of synergies with what we do here. We can add a lot of additional services.
“In France they do lots of sports marketing and we can add design, events and communication services.
“We are looking at some really big projects in France. Recently we won the World Badminton Championships just outside Paris.”
Big Cat will initially be employing two people in each territory. Mr Morgan said the company is also looking into the possibility of expanding elsewhere in Europe, including Turkey and Lithuania.
The company employs 14 people in Birmingham, with about 30 more part-time staff.
Mr Morgan accepted the venture was a risk, but said plans had been drawn up over many years.
He added: “Everything has a downside and an upside but we have spent a lot of time weighing up all the options.
“There is always some risk involved but we have three years of experience in both countries with AMP and moving into these territories is putting us onto an international platform.
“We are working with some very high end brands, like the World Badminton Championships and also AEG Themestar, which owns the rights to Scooby Doo.
“With the market conditions as they are a lot of people have told us that this is a very risky time to do this but my belief is we are actually expanding our reach and opening up to a lot more opportunities.”
As part of the deal AMP France and AMP Spain will become Big Cat France and Big Cat Spain. The businesses will continue to offer their core sports, entertainment and experiential marketing services, and will also be expanding their service offer to include creative design, advertising, public relations and event management in France and Spain.
Mr Morgan said the deal would bring design and communications work to Birmingham.
He said there was still demand in all of Big Cat’s sectors, but the economic gloom had had an impact.
He explained: “Something that is less available at the moment is large retainers.
“A lot of work at the moment is in individual projects, although we are fortunate to have some retainers.
“But there are a lot more opportunities at. A lot of big companies are dismantling large marketing departments and looking to outsource more, and that creates an opportunity.”