PARIS: French-headquartered marketing services giant Publicis Groupe on Wednesday declared a robust set of numbers for 2006, with annual net profit surging 15% to €443 million ($586.1m; £298.8m). Organic revenues rose by 5.6%, while the group notched a record operating margin of 16.3% - a level claimed as the highest in the agency business.

Chairman/ceo Maurice Lévy is fast closing on WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell for the accolade of the ad world's least triumphal boss, describing Publicis's achievement as "satisfactory".

Annual revenues were €4.39 billion, a rise of 6.3% on 2005 (in organic terms +5.6%). The group also declared its intention to earn at least 25% of total revenues from digital, interactive and mobile activities by 2010.

  • NEW YORK: Meantime, on the opposite side of the herring pond it was a different story, with world number three advertising conglomerate Interpublic Group still waist-high in red ink.

    The struggling giant reported a net loss of $31.7 million (€23.96m; £16.16m) for 2006, with revenues down 1% to $6.19 billion.

    But undistinguished though the numbers may be, they represent a marked improvement on 2005 when IPG hemorrhaged almost $263m.

    On an organic basis, the group grew by just 0.4% in its fourth quarter and 1% for the year as a whole. Chairman/ceo Michael Roth cited the organic figures as an indicator that IPG has begun to turn itself around.

    "Achieving organic growth for the full year is significant in light of the revenue deficit created by 2005 losses," he said. "This underlying growth demonstrates the competitive vitality of our agencies.

    "We are also beginning to see the benefits of key corporate initiatives that have put us on track to be fully Sarbanes Oxley compliant in 2007 and to meet our turnaround margin objectives for 2008."

    Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK) and AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff