Publicis Groupe delivered 9.4% organic revenue growth in the fourth quarter of 2022, easily exceeding analyst expectations (which averaged 4.6%). Investors on the Paris Exchange showed their approval by pushing the stock up 7% in afternoon trading.
Full-year organic growth was 10.1%, which also outpaced expectations (8.8%).
The Groupe’s initial growth guidance for 2023 is 3% to 5%.
Net revenue for full-year 2022 was up 20% to nearly 12.6 billion euro.
Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun stated, “For the second year in a row, we delivered double-digit organic growth and record-high financials, with Q4 well ahead of expectations. Today, the profound transformation we have been through means our business is firing on all cylinders, allowing us to outperform the market once again on every KPI.”
Data and tech capabilities now account for one-third of company revenues as it has adjusted to meet increased client demands for services that help manage first party data, and drive commerce growth and business transformation.
That shift can be seen in the growth for both Epsilon and Publicis Sapient last year, which posted organic increases of 12% and 19% respectively.
Media operations posted double-digit growth for both Q4 and the full year, while creative operations turned in mid-single-digit growth for both periods.
By region, the U.S. and the broader North America region were both up nearly 10%, APAC, 6.5% and Europe, 12.3% for the year. The Q4 numbers for NA and the U.S. and Europe were in line with the full-year figures. APAC performance dipped in the quarter achieving nearly 3% growth.
Operating margin was up half a percentage point to 18%.
Free cash flow totaled 1.7 billion euros last year and Publicis is projecting 1.6 billion euro in free cash flow for 2023. Operating margins this year are expected to be in line with 2022.
The year wasn't without its challenges, particularly for CEO Sadoun who disclosed last April his cancer diagnosis, which was treated successfully. Sadoun and his team used his experience to create an industry movement, unveiled at Davos, aimed at getting companies worldwide to support employees battling the disease. The company launched a global campaign earlier this week to support that initiative.
Publicis Groupe is the first of the major ad-marketing holding companies to report results for full year 2022, with the others scheduled to report in the next few weeks.