Aegis profit up 22% as European recovery gathers pace
LONDON - Pre-tax profit has leapt by over 22% in real terms at Aegis, the UK listed advertising company that owns the Carat and Vizeum media networks, rising from £30.9m to £36.4m for the first half of the year.
Aegis said that the market recovery had gathered pace in Europe since the beginning of the year and that the company's strategy had helped Aegis Media win $1.2bn (£673m) of new business.
The new-business wins included a spot on the Procter & Gamble roster in North America. The $1.2bn compares with $500m for the first half of 2003.
Across the company as a whole, revenue rose by 21.3% in real terms to £3.4bn.
Aegis Media's combined operations, which include the Carat media network, saw a rise in turnover of 3.8% to £3.5bn, compared with £3.3bn for the six months ending June 30 2003. This represents growth of 8% in constant currency.
In an upbeat set of results, Aegis said that in the year since its second-string media network Vizeum had been launched, it had grown to billings of $2.25bn, adding new clients including Heinz and Pernod Ricard.
Doug Flynn, chief executive of Aegis Group, said: "Our media businesses are winning significantly more than their share of new business and Synovate is carrying forward a comfortably higher order book than at the same stage last year. I am confident Aegis will deliver another good performance for the full year."
Synovate, Aegis' market research company, had benefited in America from increased polling activity for the forthcoming US Presidential election. Its operations in Asia Pacific and Europe also showed improvements, with the division recording a rise in revenues of 314% to £122.8m, and an order book significantly ahead of June 2003.
In the same statement, Aegis said that it planned to buy back as much as 5% of the company's shares over the coming months.
Shares in the company rose by nearly 4% when the market opened this morning, trading at 90.75p, a rise of 3.25p on the opening price.
Last week, Aegis said that global advertising spend looked set to improve by a bigger margin than previously forecasting, saying that it expects a 5.7% rise next year.
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