London-headquartered marketing services holding company Incepta Group (number twelve in Ad Age's 2003 global rankings) declared itself "cautiously confident" after recent increases in ad expenditure, predicting a modest improvement in growth prospects.

Incepta chairman, the former Conservative cabinet minister Francis Maude, said the group's flagship Citigate financial and corporate PR business was trading ahead of last year; while performances at marketing services businesses Dynamo, Finex and The RED Consultancy were in line with expectations.

Commented Maude: "The recent improvement in market conditions gives us cautious confidence. While global mergers and acquisition activity, particularly for large and mid-sized corporates, remains at low levels, the return of some IPO activity is encouraging. Levels of marketing spend are also starting to show signs of modest improvement."

He continued: "While we remain cautious given the economic backdrop and the lack of revenue visibility, we believe that a return to modest growth could be under way."

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff