True North profit jumps 33%

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True North Communications, Chicago, continued the double-digit gains that agencies are reporting for the third quarter, while free-standing insert giant Valassis Communications, Livonia, Mich., wrapped up a down period in profits, and promotional products company Halo Industries, Niles, Ill., reported a double-digit loss.

-- True North saw net income spurt 33% over a year ago to $23.9 million, as revenue from commission and fee income rose 14% to $381.2 million. Organic growth during the period rose to 11.7% from 6% a year ago. Net new-business wins were $258 million in equivalent annualized billings. Year-to-date: net income up 39% to $61.1 million, revenue up 13% to $1.1 billion.

-- Valassis' third-quarter net earnings slipped 1.2% to $25.7 million on 8.8% higher revenue of $191.1 million. FSI revenue was down 0.4%, though for the nine-month period it was up 3%. Net earnings also fared better for the year to date, up 28.5% to $113.5 million; revenue was up 9.6% to $641.2 million.

-- Halo reported a $17.6 million net loss for the third quarter, vs. a net loss of $20.6 million for the same period a year ago. Sales rose 18.9% to $175.2 million. The period represented the first full quarter that included the impact of Halo's acquisition of Starbelly.com, a business-to-business e-commerce marketer of promotional products. Year-to-date: net loss of $33.9 million, vs. a net loss of $15.5 million a year ago; sales up 10.6% to $513.9 million.

Copyright October 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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