Publicis (PUBGY) shares rose Thursday after advertising and media agency said it returned to growth in the second quarter, aided by a recovery in its U.S. business, and offering a possible insight into the likely performance of Omnicom (OMC) which reports quarterly numbers before the opening bell.
Publicis saw reported revenue growth of 2.2% and organic growth of 0.8%, to €2.51 billion ($2.82 billion) for the three months ending June 30, marking a sharp turnaround from a dismal first-quarter and beating analyst estimates across most metrics. For the first half, the French advertising group reported a 20 basis point improvement in its operating margin, to 13.2%, which was also ahead of the analyst consensus. Earnings per share of €1.89 were 1.8% ahead of analyst forecasts and up 4.4% on the same period one year ago.
Publicis was hit by account losses in its U.S. business during the first quarter, which darkened the outlook for its first half and full year performance while helping to push the shares to a year to date loss for much of the last three months.
Shares of the advertising agency rose more than 2% during early trading in Paris, to reach an intraday high of 67.00 before paring gains, far outpacing the 0.22% gain seen in the Stoxx Europe 600 Media index.
"Thanks to the good account win momentum over the last 12 months, resulting directly from The Power of One, organic growth exceeded our own expectations in the second quarter at +0.8% with the US returning to positive territory, and margin improved by 20 basis points in a low growth context," said new CEO Arthur Sadoun.
Thursday's results are a debut for new CEO Sadoun who, after replacing Maurice Levy following his more than 30 years service, is leading the implementation of Publicis' drive to better integrate all of its businesses and become more efficient, under the strategy banner The Power of One.
"PUB interim results were ahead of consensus across the board....Shares are down 5.5% over the last month, therefore, we expect this to provide some relief," said Tamsin Garrity, an analyst at Jefferies.
Publicis saw growth across all of its geographic markets during the recent quarter, with the exception of Asia Pacific which was weaker, mostly due to competitive pressures.