LONDON: Despite the distraction of besiegement by French corporate raider Vincent Bolloré, London-headquartered media and research titan Aegis Group achieved a 16% increase in pre-tax profits in the year ended December 2006.

The result is likely to trigger mixed emotions in the Frenchman (day job, Havas chairman): pleasure as an investor and frustration as a predator.

Profit before tax rose to £116.2 million ($225.70m; €169.6m), propelled by a 68.8% year-on-year upsurge in new business to the value of £1.4 billion.

Aegis, which encompasses media networks Carat and Vizeum and research specialist Synovate, also reported a 7.7% increase in organic growth.

The results reflect a year of relative equilibrium in the global advertising market, in which worldwide adspend rose 5.9% according to Aegis's estimates.

Exults ceo Robert Lerwill: "Another excellent year for Aegis. We continued to operate at the forefront of major industry shifts: digital convergence in media and entertainment; true globalisation and sophisticated applications in market research.

"Both Aegis Media and Synovate delivered strong performances, ensuring that overall Aegis delivered better organic revenue growth than its peers, and a tenth year of market out-performance."

"Promising", is the term Lerwill applies to Aegis's 2007 outlook.

"Demand in our markets is growing ahead of world GDP. On top of that, our business mix, our advantage in products and services, and the record new business wins of last year, should enable us to outperform our markets once more in 2007."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff