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Omnicom Touts New Business Wins and Modest Organic Growth

By Steve Symington - Oct 16, 2019 at 9:00AM

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The marketing and corporate communications specialist remains on track to meet its full-year goals.

Omnicom Group (OMC -1.74%) announced third-quarter 2019 results on Tuesday morning. The marketing and corporate communications leader revealed continued top-line headwinds as modest organic growth was more than offset by the combined impact of divested businesses and foreign currency exchange.

Still, Omnicom secured a number of key business wins coming during the quarter, most notably including the rights to handle Disney's (NYSE: DIS) movie studios and media channel accounts, according to an AdWeek report yesterday.

Chairman and CEO John Wren touted their performance as continuing "to demonstrate the consistency and diversity of Omnicom's operations, our ability to deliver consumer-centric strategic business solutions to our clients, and our best-in-industry creative talent combined with market-leading digital, data, and analytical expertise."

Team of people looking at various charts and papers on a desk.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

With shares up a modest 0.7% Tuesday in response, here's a closer look at Omnicom's headline numbers relative to the same year-ago period:

Metric

Q3 2019

Q3 2018

Growth

Revenue

$3.624 billion

$3.714 billion

(2.4%)

Net income (attributable to Omnicom)

$290.2 million

$298.9 million

(2.9%)

Net income per common share (diluted)

$1.32

$1.32

0%

DATA SOURCE: OMNICOM GROUP. 

Digging deeper

First, investors should note these figures aren't as "bad" as they seem at first glance. For one, during last year's busy Q3, Omnicom's bottom line enjoyed the benefit of an $18.2 million net gain stemming from its dispositions of Sellbytel and 18 smaller subsidiaries (with many of the latter group coming from within its CRM disciplines). Excluding that one-time item, net income this quarter would have climbed 3.4%, and net income per share would have increased 6.5%.

And even then -- keeping in mind Omnicom doesn't provide specific quarterly revenue or earnings guidance -- most analysts were modeling slightly lower net income of $1.31 per share, albeit on slightly higher revenue of $3.66 billion.

Meanwhile, on the top line, Omnicom managed to achieve healthy organic growth of 2.2%, well within their full-year targets for organic growth of 2% to 3%. And on a geographic basis, organic revenue declined 4.5% in the Middle East and Africa, but climbed 2.7% in both the U.S. and other North America regions, 3% in the U.K., 1.6% in Europe, 0.4% in the Asia-Pacific region, and 6.6% in Latin America.

Still, those broad-based gains were all but offset by a 3.1% slump in acquisition revenue (net of dispositions) -- ever so slightly below guidance provided in July for a roughly 3% drop -- as well as an expected 1.5% foreign currency headwind.

On key wins, guidance for the rest of the year

During the subsequent conference call, Wren lauded new and expanded client engagements with the likes of AstraZeneca, Novartis, Wells Fargo, Unilever, and Kroger.

When pressed to elaborate on the more recent Disney win -- and keeping in mind management doesn't typically spend much time elaborating on individual deals, Wren stated, "The Disney win is very important, but part of that win was business we already had."

"So there was incremental business that we received," he added. "But we were able to defend our business very well, and so we're very pleased with our relationship there and look forward to it growing as we go forward."

Also during the call, Omnicom CFO Philip Angelastro predicted that -- assuming foreign currencies remain constant -- currency exchange will once again present a 1.5% headwind to revenue in the fourth quarter. He further suggested the impact of recent acquisitions, net of dispositions, should abate slightly to around negative 1.5% in Q4.

Finally, Wren reiterated that Omnicom remains "well-positioned to deliver on [their] internal targets for the full-year 2019."

More than anything, that assessment is perfectly indicative of the current state of Omnicom's business. Though not overwhelmingly positive on the surface, Omnicom's third quarter once again demonstrated its ability to withstand today's unpredictable macro environment, while simultaneously retaining and growing the big-name client base of its enviable portfolio of agencies. As the strength of its underlying businesses becomes more clear in the coming quarters, I suspect Omnicom's share price should climb accordingly.

Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney and short October 2019 $125 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends AstraZeneca. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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