Bcom3 Propels Net Profit at Publicis

NEW YORK Publicis Groupe on Tuesday said its first-half net profit before amortization of goodwill jumped to nearly $126 million, up 49 percent from the same period a year ago.

The gain comes primarily from the acquisition of Bcom3 last September, which doubled the size of the French holding company.

The company’s overall revenue in the first six months rose 59 percent to $2.1 billion. Organic growth during the half was flat. Net earnings per share, before amortization of goodwill, climbed 16 percent during the first six months to 77 cents. Publicis increased its operating margin to 13.3 percent in the first half from 12.9 percent in the year-earlier period.

Publicis CEO Maurice Levy said the company will meet its target of a 15 percent operating margin for the second half.

“Barring unforeseen circumstances, we should be able to achieve 15 per cent operating margin during the second half of 2003. Our objectives will then be to consolidate this level for the entire year of 2004,” Levy said in a statement. “We are also working actively on cash management and on our balance sheet. That is a priority that we have set for ourselves following the important resources used for the integration of Bcom3.”