Aegis Posts 9.1% Increase in Revenue for 1st Quarter

Results Driven by New-Biz Wins in North America, Western Europe

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Aegis Group has announced a 9.1% rise in revenue for the first quarter of 2011 -- the first set of results that include a full contribution from Australian marketing-communications group Mitchell, which Aegis bought for around $350 million in November last year.

The U.K.-based communications and research group's growth rate in the first quarter puts it ahead of rivals WPP (6.7%), Publicis Groupe (6.5%), Omnicom Group (5.2%) and Havas Group (6.8%). Aegis Group did not announce specific revenue figures for the period.

The Aegis Media division of the group, which includes Carat, Isobar, Vizeum and Posterscope, delivered organic revenue growth of 10.1% in the first quarter, driven by the strength of North America, where new-business wins included Home Depot and Disney.

Some Western European markets also contributed significantly to growth, particularly the U.K., Germany and the Nordic region. Wins from Ergo, Findus, Asda, Red Bull and eBay also boosted the recovery in the region. Even the Spanish division performed "well," according to a statement, despite the "continued challenging economic environment in Southern Europe.

In the developing markets, Asia/Pacific -- where Aegis Media won Kellogg's digital creative business- performed strongest, particularly in China. Brazil and Russia also claimed significant growth.

Aegis Group claimed total net new business wins of $1.6 billion in the first quarter, compared to $800 million in the first quarter of 2010.

Also in the first three months of this year, Aegis Group acquired U.S.

sports and entertainment company Riber, Clickthinking, a South African performance marketing business, and Qualite Search Marketing in Norway. In a statement, Aegis Group CEO Jerry Buhlmann said that the group ended the quarter with "significant undrawn available credit."

The first-quarter results show that Aegis is back on track after its full year 2010 figures, released in March, showed a 25% fall in pre tax profits from $147 million to $109 million, mainly due to the $40 million debt owed by former Spanish client Nueva Rumasa.

Aegis Group said it expected client advertising and research expenditure to continue to grow throughout 2011, despite uncertainty in Japan and the Middle East.

Mr. Buhlmann, added, "Aegis performed strongly in the first quarter of 2011, and remains well placed to build on this performance and achieve further revenue and profit growth in 2011. We remain on track to deliver organic growth for 2011 at least in line with the level achieved last year."

He said Aegis and will continue to focus on costs and that he expects underlying profits for 2011 to be up on 2010.

Aegis Group's research arm Synovate delivered organic revenue growth of 7.3%, with China India, South Africa and Brazil singled out as the star performers.

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