CIA parent Tempus posts strong results

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LONDON--Tempus Group, the world's second largest independent media specialist after Aegis' Carat, reported strong revenue and earnings growth during calendar 1998. Tempus, which is strong in Europe but just dipping its toes in the U.S. and Asia, reported record turnover fueled by acquisitions and organic growth, up 27% to $1.95 billion. Gross income was up 29% to $114.6 million, compared to 1997.

Pre-tax profit increased by 40% to nearly $21 million. The group profit is up because CIA and other operating units are gaining an increased share in higher margin markets. Also, they continue to focus on value-added services that offer higher margins than media buying and planning.

In addition to CIA, the Tempus Group holds a 45% stake in the MQI network in Germany, Switzerland and Central Europe, and has an online marketing and media services division, Outrider. During 1998, Tempus invested $12.7 million in cash and shares in various acquisitions.

Europe accounts for 95% of Tempus' billings, with the U.S. and Asia accounting for remainder. The group's biggest markets are Italy (22%), Germany (20%), the U.K. (19%), Scandinavia (18%) and Spain (5%). Mr. Ingram says the U.S. will be Tempus' fifth biggest market within 12 months as a result of planned acquisitions of small- and medium-sized media specialists in several U.S. cities. CIA is close to announcing a CEO for its U.S. operations, allowing Mr. Ingram to return to London.

CIA is also establishing a foothold in Asia. Since ending a joint venture with Batey Ads in February 1998, CIA has named Mike Austin as CEO for Asia Pacific and hired a new managing director for Singapore and a regional finance director.

Local clients account for 80% of Tempus' billings. Mr. Ingram says he would like multinational business to increase from 20% to half of group billings.

Unlike some holding companies, Tempus is integrating all new media investment it makes within Outrider, which will actively market its services to Tempus clients. Outrider's new media holdings claim a profit of more than $1 million on revenue of more than $10 million.

Copyright April 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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