A buoyant 2000 for marketing services companies is reflected in the year-end results for WPP and Omnicom, unveiled this week.
WPP, the British holding company headed by Sir Martin Sorrell, reports profits before tax up more than 43 per cent to pounds 365.7 million, compared with pounds 255.4 million for the year to December 1999. Revenues are up more than 37 per cent to pounds 2.9 billion.
Last year's Olympic Games and the US elections aided WPP, which makes just under half its sales in the US. New business from clients such as Ford and Nike has also contributed.
Net new billings of pounds 2.7 billion were won last year, up 15 per cent on 1999.
The growth has been attributed to both acquisition-led and organic sources.
The WPP Group completed its acquisition of the New York-based agency Young & Rubicam last October, a move that enabled it to overtake Omnicom as the world's biggest marketing services holding company.
A WPP statement said '2001 has been ushered in with a multitude of gloomy prognostications. Some may prove to be justified. But early indications are that the world-wide growth of advertising expenditure will be around 5 to 6 per cent.'
The Omnicom Group has mirrored WPP's success with a 19 per cent rise in fourth-quarter profits on a 20 per cent revenue increase.
Omnicom reported that last year's revenue rose from dollars 1.5 billion to dollars 1.8 billion. In the past year, Omnicom's agencies have won dollars 4.9 billion in net new business from clients such as the US Air Force and DaimlerChrysler.