Aegis’ Revenue Rises 15%

NEW YORK Riding a strong performance by its Synovate research division, Aegis Group has posted 2006 global revenue of $1.9 billion, up almost 15 percent over the previous 12 months.

In organic terms, factoring out the impact of acquisitions and currency fluctuations, revenue grew approximately 7.5 percent.

Operating profit climbed 15 percent to $240 million, and the company’s gross profit margin improved from 9.3 percent to 10.4 percent.

Separately, the London-based firm said its CFO Jeremy Hicks has resigned after getting married and relocating to the United States.

Alicja Lesniak replaces Hicks. She joins Aegis from Omnicom Group’s BBDO in London. She spent seven years as CFO of BBDO’s European, Middle Eastern and African operations. Earlier, she held posts at Ogilvy & Mather and JWT.

Worldwide revenue at Aegis’ Synovate division totaled $355 million, up more than 35 percent. At the company’s media and agency operations (Carat, Vizeum and Isobar), revenue totaled $810 million, up 10 percent.

“Aegis has now delivered 10 consecutive years of industry outperformance,” wrote Numis Securities analyst Lorna Tilbian in a research report. “We believe Aegis is well positioned to deliver an 11th year of outperformance in 2007, underpinned by its strong structural position in terms of both digital activity and emerging market opportunities.” Each of those areas generates 20 percent of Aegis’ revenue.

The Americas division of Aegis posted a revenue gain of 12 percent to $258 million last year.

Aegis next month faces a third attempt in less than a year by French financier Vincent Bolloré, its largest investor, to place two of his associates on the company’s board of directors. Shareholders will vote on the proposal at a meeting in London.

Bolloré owns about 29 percent of Aegis, but he also serves as chairman of rival Havas in Paris, which Aegis management views as a flagrant conflict of interest. Bolloré has said he wishes to unite Aegis’ media operations with Havas’ MPG network.