Aegis, Publicis report growth

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[london] Aegis Group reported a 10% increase in revenue to $425.1 million, thanks to net new business of $1.1 billion. Factoring out currency and acquisitions, revenue grew 0.5% for the period. The parent company of Carat, the only large independent media buying specialist, also posted a 12% drop in net income to $12.3 million during the first half of 2002, partly due to $3.9 million in writeoffs of costs related to a restructuring program begun last year.

Chief Executive Doug Flynn said in a statement, "The U.S. advertising market has begun to show some tentative signs of recovery in the first half of the year, however the European market was down."

Financial analysts praised Aegis for delivering organic growth in a down market. Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Georges Gurkovsky reaffirmed his "outperform" rating on the stock, noting it outpaced his forecast of flat organic growth.

Separately, Publicis Groupe reported 2% growth in net profit to $53.7 million on revenues of $1.15 billion, up 2.4% from the first half of 2001. Publicis attributed the growth to the company's 2001 recent restructuring and its refinancing of debt. Management confirmed plans to close its $3.2 billion acquisition of Bcom3 Group after Bcom3 shareholders approve the sale Sept. 20.

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