Interpublic Group posted net revenue of $US1.95 billion for the third quarter, down 5.3% but better than analyst expectations.
Organic revenue, a widely used measure in the advertising sector, fell 3.7% in the three months to September.
In the US (with 65% of the company’s revenue) organic growth fell 2.4%, Asia-Pacific was -15.2% and international as a whole -6%.
IPG shares closed almost 4% higher at $US18.70.
CEO Michael Roth says he is “proud” of the results and the work being done under challenging and extraordinary circumstances.
“Looking forward to our important fourth quarter, visibility remains unclear for as long as COVID-19 is disrupting everyday life and macroeconomic conditions,” he says.
“As always, we will be disciplined in how we manage the business, aligning expenses closely to any changes in revenue. We look forward to returning to our strong trajectory of organic revenue and profit growth as a macro recovery takes hold.”
Roth says there are a range of unknowns related to the pandemic and its impact on the global economy.
"This will weigh on the significant volume of project assignments that are the norm for our holiday season," he told analysts.
"COVID as we are painfully aware remains a threat to everyday life and regrettably is picking up in many key global markets. Unemployment while a better picture than earlier this year remains historically high. The status of important government support programs is unresolved, especially, in the US, but globally as well.
"All of this makes client decision-making for the holiday season difficult to forecast."
Roth says there will be enduring consumer changes because of the pandemic, including the mass shift to ecommerce, the emergence of digital consumer experience, and a deeper accountability for brand authenticity and purpose.
“At IPG, we are distinctively well-resourced with outstanding talent and tools to help marketers re-think and re-imagine their brands,” he says.
“Our new business pipeline continues to be active, and has begun to recover relative to earlier this year.
“We continue our program of structural operating cost reduction to lower our expense base, and raise our margin potential going forward. Our balance sheet and liquidity continue to be further areas of strength.”
Third quarter numbers:
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