The growth story at media and digital communications group Aegis continued in the first quarter of 2012, albeit at a slower rate than the breakneck speed seen in 2011.
Overall, the group saw organic revenue growth of 8.1% in the first quarter from a year earlier, with Aegis Media up 8.0% and the Aztec retail research division up 10.0%. In the preceding quarter, Aegis had seen organic revenue growth of 12.0% (Aegis Media +11.9%; Aztec +15.4%).
The Americas region was the star performer for the Aegis Media unit, with organic revenue growth of 20.3%, with both North America and Brazil enjoying strong quarters.
The Asia Pacific region chipped in with creditable organic revenue growth of 12.5%, supported by a strong showing in China, but the Europe, Middle East and African (EMEA) region was more of a mixed bag. Having enjoyed double-digit percentage growth a year earlier, EMEA was up against tough comparatives, and managed organic revenue growth of 1.7% on the back of good performances in Russia and northern Europe; the markets in southern Europe, where governments are attempting to introduce austerity packages, were a much tougher proposition for Aegis Media.
Aegis Media's notched up net new business wins of $2.9bn in the quarter, up from $1.6bn a year earlier, with $2.5bn of this represented by the General Motors (GM) contract, the benefits of which will be felt from the second quarter onwards.
The big GM contract win underpins management's expectations for another year of "sector-leading organic revenue growth and an improvement in underlying operating profit, year-on-year."
The group said it has not seen any sign of its clients cutting back on their marketing and advertising budgets so far in 2012.
The retail research business Aztec delivered year-on-year organic revenue growth of 10.0%, supported by another good performance from the business in Australia, as it continued its recovery over the last few quarters.
"In the first quarter of 2012, which was our first full quarter as a focused media and digital communications specialist, Aegis delivered excellent organic revenue growth, particularly in the face of a sector-leading top line performance in the prior year period. All of our network brands performed well across our key regions, highlighting the continued positive momentum in our business," said Jerry Buhlmann, Chief Executive Officer of Aegis Group.
The group got shot of its market research business, Synovate, in October 2011, to focus purely on media and digital communications.
"Our unique operating model and focus as a scaled media and digital communications specialist, fully aligned to the requirements of our clients in a rapidly-changing media environment, ensures that Aegis remains very well positioned for continuing success," Buhlmann added.