Boring old Omnicom nearly back to $1bn profit

BBDO and TBWA owner Omnicom made $952m profit in 2011, almost back to the $1bn it made in pre-credit crunch 2008. Revenue rose 10.6 per cent to $13.9bn while profits rose 15.1 per cent.

The rise in revenue won’t be enough to allow it to catch market leader WPP, due to report imminently, but Omnicom is more profitable. At roughly twice the size or more of third and fourth-paced Publicis Groupe and Interpublic, its growth rate is still impressive, doubly so as CEO John Wren (pictured) usually differs from rivals WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell and PG’s Maurice Levy by keeping his cheque book firmly in his pocket.

Rather surprisingly the UK was a strong performer for Omnicom, with revenues up 12.5 per cent to $1.2bn. Its flagship UK ad agency is AMV/BBDO which has established a seemingly unassailable lead over its rivals in the past 20 years. Its other big UK agencies, DDB and TBWA, had a more mixed 2011 with big losses of Virgin Media and Muller respectively, although these won’t impact until 2012.

So why boring old Omnicom? Well being boringly predictable is no problem at all for a big quoted company; least of all for CEO Wren who came under fire last year for his pay package and generous pension arrangements.

The biggest drama likely at Omnicom, unless it chooses to bid for a big one like media buyer Aegis, is the eventual successor to Wren. But on today’s evidence nobody will be shuffling him off to retirement just yet.

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