Omnicom reported a 1.8% decline in organic revenue for the first quarter of 2021, while overall revenue rose 0.6% to more than $3.4 billion -- boosted a bit by positive currency fluctuations and the sale of some assets.
Income for the quarter was up 11.2% to $287.8 million.
The company said that while the COVID-19 pandemic is still causing volatile economic conditions, at least for now it foresees a return to organic growth in the second quarter and for the full year.
Omnicom CEO John Wren noted on an investor call Tuesday morning that “there could be some unforeseen challenges,” given the varying responses and degrees of success around the world in battling the pandemic. But setting aside that issue, he said, the company is “now on a clear path to return to growth.” That said, performance is likely to vary by region.
Wren said he was confident that the company’s organic revenue would “grow at a faster pace for certain” once the pandemic is over compared to the several years leading up to 2020 when growth stumbled along in the low- to mid-single digits.
Wren also said the company would be more aggressive in pursuing targeted acquisitions like the recently disclosed deals for Archbow Consulting and Areteans.
Areas of focus include precision marketing, martech, digital transformation, commerce and media, he added.
Organic revenue in the U.S. in Q1 decreased 1.0%, while falling 3.2% in other parts of North America. In the UK the decline was 6.4%, and in Europe the drop was 3.2%. Asia-Pacific increased 2.5%, Latin America fell 2.4% and the Middle East & Africa fell 10.2%.
By discipline, advertising increased 1.2%, CRM Precision Marketing increased 7.2%, CRM Commerce and Brand Consulting decreased 4.2%, CRM Experiential decreased 33.2%, CRM Execution & Support decreased 13.3%, Public Relations decreased 3.5% and Healthcare was flat.
The company also announced that it would implement a new stock repurchasing program some time in the second quarter. That announcement follows an earlier decision to increase the firm's dividend.