Publicis’ Net Income Up 15%

BOSTON Publicis Groupe today reported net income of $585 million, a 15 percent rise over the previous year.

The Paris-based holding company earlier this month had reported a more than 6 percent rise in 2006 revenue to nearly $6 billion. In organic terms, excluding currency fluctuations and the impact of acquisitions, revenue rose 5.5 percent last year compared to 2005. The company’s operating margin improved to 16.3 percent from 15.7 percent.

CEO and chairman Maurice Lévy in a statement called the results “further confirmation of the effectiveness of the strategy we have pursued over recent years. Strong organic growth and net new business are especially satisfactory.”

The company also reduced its debt more than 30 percent to approximately $835 million.

Lévy added, “We are well placed to make the most of robust growth in emerging markets, where we will be continuing acquisitions as opportunities arise.”

Publicis said it would make acquisitions in such fast-growing markets, which would account for 25 percent of its revenue by 2010.

Last year, Publicis shored up its digital offering through the December acquisition of Boston-based Digitas for $1.3 billion.

“The bulk of our revenue is now drawn from segments where growth is significantly higher than in the worldwide advertising market. I am thus confident about the future of our Groupe, and in particular about the 2007 fiscal year,” Lévy said.

Publicis had a strong year in new business, with a net gain of $3.3 billion from clients such as Aventis, J.C. Penney, Kraft, Orange, Sony Ericsson and Washington Mutual.

The company has started 2007 in positive fashion, adding assignments from Fox, Wendy’s and Wal-Mart.

Along with its namesake agency network, other key Publicis holdings include Fallon, Leo Burnett and Starcom MediaVest.