WPP, Omnicom and Publicis emerge as results winners

WPP, Omnicom and Publicis Groupe have emerged as the strongest-performing advertising holding groups following the recent round of results.

Lévy: double-digit growth
Lévy: double-digit growth

Publicis Groupe reported the biggest increase in pre-tax profits in 2012, up 18.7 per cent to €1.02 billion (£881.4 million), as analysts predicted that those investing in digital and emerging markets would perform strongly in 2013.

WPP and Omnicom posted strong single-figure increases. WPP’s pre-tax profits were £1.092 billion, a rise of 8.3 per cent year on year, while Omnicom’s were up 7.1 per cent to $1.66 billion (£1.101 billion).

Interpublic Group, which was negatively affected by losing accounts such as SC Johnson in 2011, reported pre-tax profits of $674.8 million (£447.8 million), a decrease of 8.6 per cent.

Advertising holding companies 2012
Rank Holding company Revenue £bn (% growth year on year) Pre-tax profits £m (% growth year on year)
1 WPP 10.373 (+3.5) 1,092.0 (+8.3)
2 Omnicom 9.435 (+2.5) 1,101.0 (+7.1)
3 Publicis Groupe 5.786 (+13.7) 881.4 (+18.7)
4 Interpublic Group 4.615 (-0.8) 447.8 (-8.6)
5 Havas 1.534 (+8.0) n/s

Paul Richards, the director of equity research, media, at Numis Securities, said: "WPP, Omnicom and Publicis are all performing to a good level. Going forward, we expect relatively strong performances in emerging markets and digital.

"Since they are all at a certain size, they all move in a similar way. If a group is exposed in Europe or lost accounts such as SC Johnson, then that will affect its performance, but the groups that invest in digital and growing regions will do well."

Maurice Lévy’s Publicis Groupe also increased its revenues by the greatest margin, up 13.7 per cent year on year to €6.610 billion (£5.786 billion). On an organic basis, both Publicis Groupe and WPP increased revenues by 2.9 per cent year on year.

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