Publicis Groupe Income Improves 50%

BOSTON Fueled by a strong new-business performance, Publicis Groupe today said its first-half net income grew nearly 50 percent to $156 million on a 4.5 percent revenue increase to $2.3 billion, compared to the same period a year ago.

Factoring out the impact of currency fluctuations and acquisitions, organic growth for the first half was more than 6 percent, the company said.

Paris-based Publicis Groupe said it won more than $6 billion in new business during the first six months of the year, including key assignments from General Motors and Telefonica. The GM media win (notched by Starcom MediaVest in May) accounted for more than half of the $6 billion in total new business.

The results “were achieved through a sound structure built on a strategy anticipating both advertisers’ needs and trends in communications options,” said company CEO Maurice Lévy in a statement.

Publicis Groupe’s operating margin improved to nearly 15 percent in the first six months of 2005 compared to 14 percent in the same period a year ago.

North American and Asian operations were especially strong. The former posted 6 percent organic growth in the first half of 2005, while the latter grew 10.5 percent. Europe lagged somewhat behind, but still grew nearly 4 percent.

Yesterday, competitor Omnicom Group reported a 10 percent rise in net income for the first half of the year on an 8 percent improvement in revenue, compared to the first six months of 2004.