Saatchi & Saatchi won more than $1 billion of gross new billings won and $735 million net in the full year to December 31 1999.
Revenues rose 12.5 per cent to £390.3 million from £346.8 million last time. Pre-tax profits, however, rose only four per cent to £36.3 million, but operating profits grew 25 per cent to £35.5 million on an ongoing basis.
Bob Seelert, chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, said: "1999 was a strong year for us. Our new business performance led the industry and we have both met and exceeded our corporate goals thereby delivering further value to shareholders. A buoyant advertising market and positive economic outlook leads me to believe that we can look forward to the coming year with confidence."
He added: "We won over $1billion of new business and net gains were $735m on an annualised basis. Advertising Age International ranked Saatchi & Saatchi number 1 in its 1999 global new business league table -- beating all other worldwide networks."
Seelert went on to dismiss recent concerns about profit warnings from Saatchi's largest client, Procter & Gamble. He said it was unlikely that P&G would cut ad budgets to save money.
Like rivals, Saatchis online business, which includes such activities as internet banner advertising, production and consulting, has increased massively and was up 150 per cent during the year and now constitutes 2.5 per cent of the group's revenues.
Healthcare was another sector that grew strongly. This was mainly due to increased advertising spending in the United States following the lifting of certain restrictions on drug advertising.
In North America ongoing revenue increased 13.0 per cent to £192.4 million while UK revenue decreased 1.2 per cent to £57.5 million.