Holding Company Says 2004 Outlook Is Positive

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NEW YORK ( -- Omnicom Group today reported a 5% increase in net income and a 14% jump in worldwide revenue for 2003. The world's largest agency holding compnay gave early indications that this year would see more of the same.

Net income for 2003 rose to $675.9 million from $643.5 million a year earlier, and worldwide revenue rose to $8.6 billion from $7.5 billion, the company announced today. Fourth-quarter 2003 net income rose 10% to $221.3 million, while worldwide revenue for the period increased 18.3% to $2.5 billion.

Increased client spending
Omnicom's CEO, John Wren, said the company's first quarter looked good, and new business was ramping up as the company remains focused on organic growth. He told analysts in a conference call today that growth from existing business rose 7% in the fourth quarter. He said increased client spending and some merger activity would benefit both traditional and marketing services. He said public relations was on the upswing for the first time in two years.

Marketing services continued to contribute more to the bottom line than did traditional advertising. The company said traditional media advertising was responsible for 43.5% of company revenue in the fourth quarter, while marketing services contributed 56.5%, thanks to activity on customer relationship management as well as health care. The mix for 2003 was about the same, with traditional advertising at 43.4%.

Among its top competitors, Havas' revenue was down 3.8% for the fourth quarter and 5.7% for the year, while Publicis Groupe's fourth-quarter revenue rose 5.2% and the year saw a 2% increase. The second-largest holding company, Interpublic Group of Cos., and No. 3 WPP Group have yet to report their quarterly and year-end numbers.

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