Recovery boosts Aegis Group profits

Aegis Group, the parent company of the Carat, Vizeum and Posterscope media companies and the Synovate market research business, has recorded an 18 per cent increase in profits in its half-yearly results.

The company claims improvements in the European market, combined with the well-established recovery in the US and Asia-Pacific, boosted its underlying profit before tax to £36.4 million.

Aegis added that creating a global brand strategy for each of its businesses had also helped them to grow.

Turnover increased at Aegis Media - the umbrella group created last year to control Carat, Vizeum and Posterscope - by 3.8 per cent to £3,499 million.

Revenues at the division improved by 7.4 per cent to £216 million, and Aegis reported net new business of £652 million in annualised billings against wins of £295 million in 2003. A large chunk of this new business was the result of Carat winning the Procter & Gamble US media communications brief.

Revenues at Synovate were also up, prompting Aegis to announce it was planning to buy back as much as 5 per cent of the company's shares over the coming months.

Future growth at the company will be made through "selective smaller acquisitions" rather than major purchases.

Doug Flynn, the chief executive of Aegis, said: "The group performed well, with last year's record performance driving the momentum into the first half of 2004.

"This is the result of the strength of our businesses as well as the improving economic conditions."

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