Omnicom PR firms notch 8%-plus growth in Q4

NEW YORK: Omnicom Group's PR agencies earned $347.9 million in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012, an organic increase of 8.4% compared with Q4 2011.

NEW YORK: Omnicom Group's PR agencies earned $347.9 million in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012, an organic increase of 8.4% compared with Q4 2011.

The holding company's PR firms, which include Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, and Porter Novelli, accounted for 8.8% of its total revenue in Q4. While that percentage was dwarfed by advertising (49.1%) and CRM (34.7%), the PR group outpaced other units in terms of organic Q4 revenue growth, with advertising up 5.4% and CRM's revenue shrinking by 1.6% year-over-year.

For full-year 2012, Omnicom's PR firms reported $1.3 billion in revenue, representing 3.3% organic revenue growth compared with the prior year. The holding company's ad agencies grew 6.6% organically last year, while CRM was up 2.3% compared with the prior year.

Fleishman CEO Dave Senay said his agency's 2012 growth figure “was closer to the fourth-quarter number Omnicom provided than the full-year number.” He added that it was “a very good year on all fronts” for his agency. 

Omnicom's total revenue was up 2.7% organically in Q4 to $3.9 billion compared with the prior year. For 2012, the holding company earned $14.2 billion, up 4% organically from 2011.

Net income was up 12.9% in Q4 to $307.1 million, and it grew 4.8% to $998.3 million for 2012, year-over-year.

The company's overall numbers beat expectations with a “better than expected fourth-quarter profit on higher revenue in its domestic market,” according to Reuters.

Ketchum CEO Rob Flaherty said he was “thrilled” the firm had a “strong fourth quarter and is having a strong first quarter” of 2013, citing account wins from MasterCard and Procter & Gamble.

“We had several multimillion-dollar wins [in Q4]. You really want to win in Q4 because it sets you up for the year ahead,” he said. 

Omnicom's US operations saw 5% organic revenue growth in 2012 to more than $2 billion. For 2012, the company earned $7.3 billion in US revenue, an increase of 4.5% organically compared with the prior year. Omnicom saw shrinking revenue in both Euro currency markets and the UK in the fourth quarter. The US accounted for more than 51% of the company's revenue for both periods.

Organic growth represents change in revenue without taking into account the impact of acquisitions or disposals.

Last month, Ketchum bought Raleigh, NC-based agency Capstrat in an effort to strengthen its position in the Southern US, as well as to add the firm's capabilities in public affairs, healthcare, and technology. Aside from Ketchum, Fleishman, and Porter, Omnicom also owns parts of Brodeur and Kreab Gavin Anderson. Its advertising agencies include BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide, and TBWA Worldwide.

This article was updated on February 12 with quotes from Flaherty. It was also updated on February 13 with quotes from Senay.

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