Interpublic Net Income Nearly Doubles in 2011

Holding Company Posts Growth in All Regions Except Eurozone

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U.S.-based ad holding company Interpublic Group of Cos. has reported that it nearly doubled its net income for 2011, up 96% to $551.5 million, up from $281.2 in 2010.

The company's annual revenue was up 7.8%, to about $7 billion.

"Building on a very good 2010 result, we continue to show organic revenue growth that is at or near the top of our peer group," said Interpublic CEO Michael Roth during a conference call with analysts this morning. "This performance keeps us on track to deliver on our goal of fully competitive profitability in 2014."

Net income in the fourth quarter of 2011 was up 25% to $278.3 million. Total revenue for the quarter was up 3.4% to $2.07 billion. The company also noted that last year it had net cash inflow of $134 million from the sale of about half of its interest in Facebook.

During the call, Mr. Roth said all of the company's regions grew in terms of organic growth in 2011, except for Europe, which is in the midst of a debt crisis. For the full year, continental Europe was down 0.1%. The best region for organic growth last year was Latin America, which was up 17.8%. For the fourth quarter, U.S. organic growth was up 2.2%, Latin American was up 30.4% and Europe was down 3.2%.

Mr. Roth called out Interpublic's digital agencies -- MRM, part of the McCann network, Huge and R/GA -- for significantly contributing to the company's growth, and said the holding company will continue to focus on digital acquisitions.

In 2012, Mr. Roth said the company is targeting 3% organic growth, noting "significant macro uncertainty on the global level." He added that the company is facing revenue challenges due to client losses from last year, which are expected to affect the first six months of the year.

Interpublic agency networks McCann Erickson and DraftFCB both saw major accounts defect in 2011. McCann Erickson lost Nescafe work and other accounts, while DraftFCB lost SC Johnson and is now facing having to share Miller Lite work with Publicis Groupe 's Saatchi & Saatchi.

Still, he told analysts that DraftFCB has 350 people devoted to digital, and that the agency had both top and bottom line success in 2011. U.S. agencies that "continue to perform at an exceptional level" include Mullen, Hill Holliday, Martin and Deutsch, he said. Mr. Roth additionally made it a point to mention Mediabrands as a success within the company.

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