Interpublic Group's net income drops 4.8% but shares surge on strong Q4

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The group also reported a pre-tax net loss of $24.1 million.

Overall, the year's revenue grew 1.8% to $7.9 billion from the year before. This includes an organic revenue increase of 2.2% in the U.S. and 1.2% in IPG's international markets.

In the fourth quarter, revenues grew 3.3% to $2.3 billion from the same period the year before. This comprised an organic revenue growth of 3.7% in the U.S. and 2.9% internationally.

Healthcare work accounted for 22% of Interpublic's revenue last year, up slightly from the year before.

These results deliver on IPG's updated targets, said Michael Roth, Interpublic's chairman and chief executive, in an earnings statement.

"At this level of margin expansion, we will continue to invest behind our talent and in key areas such as digital, data, and analytics, which are vital to positioning us for success this year and for the long-term," he added.

For 2018, IGP is targeting organic revenue growth in the range of 2% to 3% and operating margin expansion of 20 basis points, Roth concluded.  

Post earnings call, IPG's share price was up 10.7% to $24.60 on Wednesday morning, Reuters reported

This strong reaction was due to the group results coming "well above" expectations, commented Pivotal Research Group senior research analyst for advertising Brian Wieser.

Mediabrands, McCann Worldgroup, and FCB were cited as driving overall growth, Wieser noted. 

Expectations of IPG's performance in 2018, he continued, should be framed in the context of an network working through a range of negative trends such as "weakness among the largest marketers in the country and the application of zero-based budgeting among many of those same marketers."

"We also think that enhanced contract scrutiny is having an effect on all agency holding companies in the wake of increased awareness of contract terms that allowed agencies to generate revenues that were previously not fully understood by their clients (for example, mark-ups on costs of inventory that do not necessarily involve a holding company taking possession of inventory, which can occur in programmatic buying as well as traditional media buying)," Wiser said.

An earlier version of this story first appeared on campaignlive.co.uk. 

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