Interpublic Group reported a 13.3% gain in net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2018 to $2.41 billion, with net profit up 29% to $326 million, boosted in part by the company’s Acxiom acquisition on October 1.
Organic revenue growth for the period, which excludes the impact of M&A (such as the Acxiom deal) and currency fluctuations, was 7.1%. Organic growth in the U.S. was 6.3% and growth in other regions averaged 8%. The company noted that organic growth from Acxiom won’t be factored into its numbers until fourth-quarter 2019.
Full-year net revenue grew 7.5% to $8.03 billion with organic growth of 5.5%, including 5.1% growth in the U.S. and 6.2% internationally. Net income rose nearly 12% to $619 million.
IPG’s organic growth for the fourth quarter and full year far exceeded competitors' reporting so far -- including Omnicom, which earlier in the week reported 3.2% growth in the fourth quarter and 2.6% growth for the full year. Publicis posted a slight decline in organic revenue in the fourth quarter.
Interpublic CEO Michael Roth said the results “demonstrate the strength of our client-centric integrated offering, and the quality of our people.”
The company projects that 2019 organic growth will be in the 2% to 3% range, with profit margin improvement of up to half a percentage point.
That margin improvement excludes an expected pre-tax charge to earnings of around $30 to $40 million in the first quarter to “right size” the company’s cost structure after some account losses last year.