A strong US performance boosts Aegis

Steve Dinneen
Follow Steve
Advertising giant Aegis yesterday outperformed the industry, smashing analyst growth forecasts.

The UK firm was buoyed by a strong performance in the US, where rivals including WPP have struggled in the last three months.

It posted organic revenue growth of 11.2 per cent, compared with analyst forecasts of 7.5 per cent.

Aegis said it expects organic revenue growth to slow in the fourth quarter and noted that, as is historically the case, revenue will be weighted towards that period. It also said some staff costs had risen, which would keep underlying operating profit in line with forecasts.

The firm, which this month closed the sale of its Synovate market research unit for £529m, now expects to fend off any potential suitors after proving itself as a smaller outfit.

Havas has long been seen as a potential bidder for Aegis, a position that was strengthened by the sale of Synovate. Havas chairman Vincent Bolloré, who is also the biggest shareholder in Aegis, is a long-term admirer of the company.

Chief executive Jerry Buhlmann said: “We’re making good progress on all fronts at Aegis and the business has considerable momentum.”

He said the group was benefiting from new systems and management put in place, which had energised the firm. He said he also expected its ability to take work off rivals and its presence in faster-growing regions to help it through 2012.

It also has a lengthy list of acquisitions that it is working on after completing 15 deals this year.

WPP last week cut its 2011 outlook after slowing growth in the US. Omnicom posted third quarter organic growth of 7.2 per cent, Publicis 6.4 per cent, Havas 7.3 per cent, WPP 4.7 per cent and IPG 8.7 per cent.