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2003 Sales: $6.1 billion
2012 Sales: $7 billion
2003 EPS -$1.66
2011 EPS: 99 cents
Interpublic(IPG - Get Report), the nation's second-largest ad agency, has felt the effects of an anemic advertising market as a number of publishers and other media firms shrink in size. Even with those top-line pressures, the company has managed to turn around its bottom line in remarkable fashion. Back in 2003, this company lost $640 million (and wouldn't go on to turn a profit until 2007).
Yet a tight focus on costs has helped Interpublic to boost operating profit margins for seven straight years, to a recent 9.8%. That helped net income reach a record $520 million in 2011. Meanwhile, shares, which managed to surpass $50 in 1999 and were still above $30 by 2002, now trade for around $11.
The current forward P/E multiple of around 11 is quite reasonable when you consider this company's strong industry positioning and leverage to an eventual rebound in the economy and ad spending.