London-based Aegis Group, parent of global media planning/buying network Carat, yesterday predicted that last year’s eight per cent growth in world advertising expenditure will shrink across the board to 5.7% in 2001.

It expects the sharpest G-force to be experienced in the USA where adspend growth is expected to decelerate from 8% to 4.5%. The nation accounts for around half of all global adspend.

Nevertheless, Aegis was in bull mode, reporting a 21.4% increase in underlying pre-tax profits for 2000 to £71.7m (£67.3m in 1999) on turnover of £5.71bn (£4.79bn). However, earnings per share dipped slightly from 4.6p to 4.4p.

The group expects the Asia Pacific region to lead growth in 2001, predicting a rise to 6.3% from last year’s 6%. Europe, which accounts for about two-thirds of Aegis’ revenues, would remain buoyant at 6.4%, albeit down from around 8.3% last year.

Said Doug Flynn, chief executive: “I don't think these are overly optimistic forecasts for 2001 and while we will continue to look through the entrails of the rabbit, we feel we have a pretty good view of what's going on.”

News source: Financial Times