Saatchi celebrates 31% profits rise

SAATCHI & SAATCHI, the advertising group, is likely to make double- digit margins in the current year after raising its return on sales to 9.3 per cent in 1998, writes Peter Thal Larsen.

Reporting a 31 per cent rise in pre-tax profits before exceptionals for 1998, Bob Seelert, the chairman, said the outlook for Saatchi & Saatchi was better than it had been for a long time. Last year was the first full year of trading for the company following its demerger from the advertising giant Cordiant.

He pointed out that Saatchi & Saatchi had won $500m of net new business in 1998 - more than in the previous two years combined. Much of the new business had come from two of the company's largest clients, Procter & Gamble and Toyota.

Since the start of the new year, Saatchi & Saatchi had added a further $200m of new business. "We are now positioned as a global agency on a world stage," he said.

Mr Seelert dismissed suggestions that Saatchi & Saatchi might be reunited with its founders, Maurice and Charles Saatchi, who are running their own rival agency. Mr Seelert said no talks had taken place between the two, adding: "We are two very different animals."

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