IPG Reports Strong Start To The Year With Q1 Growth Of 6.4%

Interpublic Group issued a strong first-quarter earnings report today that drove the company's stock up 5%. 

The company posted a 13% net revenue gain to $2 billion, with organic growth of 6.4%. Growth in the U.S. was 5.7% and 7.7%, internationally. The organic growth figures exclude Acxiom, which was acquired late last year.

IPG attributed the strong growth to strong new business development and higher spending from existing clients.

"We continue to be pleased with our strong organic growth in the U.S. and in all international regions," IPG Chairman and CEO Michael Roth told analysts and investors on an earnings call Friday morning. "Our results were driven by strong top- and bottom-line performance in media, as well as growth from our global creative networks, public relations and digital offerings."



That said, the first quarter is the company's smallest quarter. Nevertheless, said Roth, "our results continue to demonstrate the many strengths of our company and underscore the successful evolution of our offerings amid significant change in the environment in which we operate." 

The company did take a $32 million restructuring charge, related to headcount reductions and real estate consolidation due to account losses late in 2018 -- losses that did not impact first-quarter results but that will impact subsequent quarters.

Roth noted that the general "tone of business is solid," and that first-quarter results signal what should be a fairly strong year for the company. For now the firm is sticking with its guidance of 2% to 3% organic growth for the year and profit margin improvement of up to half a percentage point

IPG's results were released shortly after WPP issued results for the same period, reporting an 8.5% drop in net sales in North America -- partly a reflection of the firm's loss last year of the Ford Motor creative business. 

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