THE Perth office of public relations company Porter Novelli has merged with financial intelligence company Castle Gates Australia.However, despite the merger, both companies will continue to operate individual businesses.The merger is designed to create a communications and research company that will help listed entities improve communication with their stakeholders.Porter Novelli director Paul Downie said the merger would produce a service similar to that provided by many US investor relations companies.“I think investor relations is heading this way as managing directors and chief executive officers are becoming more responsible for shareholder value,” he said.“We’ll fit between the company and its audience.“We can help companies find where their demand and growth opportunities lie. We can help them find shareholders. On the internal side we can help them understand what they are saying to the market.”Mr Downie said what the merged firms would be offering was comparable to what large accounting practices such as PricewaterhouseCoopers offered their clients.“With PwC you can go there and get accounting advice and management consulting advice,” he said.“With the merger between Porter Novelli and Castle Gates we’ll be offering our clients two separate products.”Castle Gates director John McGlue said the bulk of his company’s work revolved around helping listed companies improve shareholder value.“Our focus is to make people money or to save them money,” he said.“We’re also helping them to build their place in the capital markets.“Corporations have a raft of communications with their various audiences and the essence of good communications is good information.”Part of Castle Gates’ work has involved defending companies involved in hostile takeovers. It has also been involved with merger and acquisition projects and litigation.“We produce financial statements on the opposing side. We carry out a huge amount of research and present it in a form that has commercial impact,” Mr McGlue said.“We also worked on the Utilicorp bid for the cornerstone investor position in AlintaGas.”He said opportunity had driven the merger.“Paul and I have worked together for the past couple of years,” Mr McGlue said.“We saw the synergies and cross pollination benefits and had been looking for a way to take that further for some time.“It’s broader service offering to our respective client bases.”
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