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Aegis Group Reports Gains

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London-based holding company Aegis Group has reported revenue of $1.03 billion for the first half of 2010, up 2.4 percent on a constant currency basis compared to the same period a year ago.

The company reported organic revenue growth of 3.2 percent for the half and 4.7 percent for the second quarter, the fourth consecutive quarter of improvement against that metric.

Operating profit rose 19 percent to nearly $95 million, a performance helped by the return to profitability of research arm Synovate, the company said.

Aegis reported "strong performances" in the Latin America, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe regions, which together accounted for 30 percent of the company's revenue, up from 27 percent in 2009.

Aegis Media posted a 3 percent revenue gain worldwide to $642 million, bolstered by net new business wins in the first half from clients including Kellogg, GE Capital Bank, ING, Kraft-Cadbury, Beiersdorf and China Telecom, among others, with total billings of $1 billion. First-half organic growth for the media division was 3.4 percent.

In the Americas, Aegis Media generated $136 million in revenue, up 3 percent.

The company said that Aegis Media "benefited from renewed confidence in the advertising sector," during the first half.

For the second half, said Aegis CEO Jerry Buhlmann, "We are seeing signs of a rebound in both the advertising and market research sectors. We are optimistic about the short-term outlook for both sectors."

For the full year, he said, operating profits and margins would both be in positive territory, with "a continuing trend of improvement in organic growth at both our businesses."

Last year, of course, was especially rough for the big ad firms, but with the current market recovery, most have enjoyed gains as 2010 has progressed:

 • WPP Group saw a 3.5 percent first-half revenue rise, but was cautious looking ahead.

 • Onnicom Group beat analysts' predictions and reported a 6 percent rise in Q2 revenue and 4.2 percent gain in profit.

 • Interpublic Group saw significant quarterly and first-half improvements, including a fourfold Q2 net-income boost.

 • Publicis Groupe enjoyed a first-half net-income surge of 28 percent on a 15 percent revenue spike.