Paris: Publicis, the world’s fourth-biggest advertising agency, said 2006 was a “record year” with net profits up 14.8%, when it published results on 28 February.
Shares in the French advertiser were up over 1% to 33.79 euros on the news, one of the few stocks to rise in a market on the slide after sharp declines in America and Asia. Group president Maurice Levy described the results as “extremely solid”.
Publicis reported that net profit in 2006 rose by 14.8% to 443 million euros on sales of 4,386 billion euros.Operating margin was also rose in 2006 to 16.3% from 15.7% in 2005, the “highest level” in its class on a world comparison, the group said, forecasting a further increase to 16.7% in 2008.
Both figures beat analysts’ forecasts which had predicted net profits of 415.3 million euros and a margin of between 15.6 and 15.9%. Levy said he was “confident for the future of Publicis and in particular for 2007”, which he said had a “promising start” with gains in turnover of 2 billion euros in January.
This year, 2007, is an important year for the group which signalled a shift away from traditional media towards the digital world and emerging markets. Publicis has set itself a target of bringing in a quarter of its revenues from digital communication, interactive and mobile activities and another quarter from emerging markets by 2010.
At the end of January it finalised the acquisition of the US interactive communications company Digitas for $1.3 billion and Levy said that more acquisitions in “Europe and Asia” would follow, though “not on the scale of Digitas”.Levy added growth in the emerging markets was two times higher than the average for the group and that that performance was expected to be “even better” in 2007.