Publicis Groupe reports profit surge

Publicis Groupe this week pledged further investment to expand its business as it reported a 40 per cent net profit rise for 2004.

The world's fourth-largest communications company cited a recovering economic climate and cost controls as the drivers behind a leap in profits to £198.7 million.

The group, which includes the Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett networks, also highlighted its record new-business levels. Wins included ZenithOptimedia's capture of O2's £33 million media planning and buying business and the arrival of the £35 million Oracle media account at Starcom Mediavest.

Extra business worth £2.3 billion boosted organic growth to 4 per cent, the highest level since 2000. Organic growth varied widely, however. While the figure for Europe was just 2 per cent, Latin America hit 15.9 per cent.

"So, 2005 should be ano-ther good year for Publicis Groupe, whatever the worldwide economic situation," Maurice Levy, the Publicis chairman, said.

- Comment, page 36

PUBLICIS RESULTS

- Record new-business year with wins totalling £2.3 billion

- Operating margin up from 14.3 per cent to 15.4 per cent

- Organic growth reaches 4 per cent, the highest figure for four years

- Net income up 40 per cent to £150 million

- Proposed dividend increase of 15.4 per cent