Paris-headquartered Publicis Groupe has achieved first-half net profits of $44 million, a 54% increase on the same period last year. Gross income for the six months to June 30 leapt 42% to $590m and billings at $3.9 billion rose by 43%.

The glowing results, which exclude Publicis’s recent purchase of Saatchi & Saatchi, are credited by chairman Maurice Levy to a variety of causes: acquisitions in the US, Latin America and Europe; burgeoning growth in the group's internet, marketing services and PR activities; plus the netting of 300 new clients worth nearly $860m in additional billings.

The Saatchi deal, formally completed on Tuesday when Publicis shares started trading of the New York Stock Exchange, will "add a new dimension to the group," says Levy. It vaults Publicis into fifth place in the world's agency network rankings.

News source: Advertising Age - International Daily