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Interpublic Q4 Profit Edges Down, Hikes Dividend;to Buyback Addl $300 Mln Shares

Interpublic Group (IPG) reported that its fourth quarter 2017 net income available to IPG common stockholders was $316.6 million or $0.81 per share, compared to $317.6 million or $0.78 per share a year ago.

IPG is currently trading at $24.46, up $2.24 or 10.08%.

Adjusted net income for the latest-quarter was $0.79 per share, compared to $0.75 per share in the prior year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.77 per share. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Revenue of $2.34 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 3.4% compared with the same period in 2016. Analysts expected revenue of $2.3 billion for the quarter.During the fourth quarter of 2017, the effect of foreign currency translation was positive 1.2%, the impact of net divestitures was negative 1.1%, and the resulting organic revenue increase was 3.3%. Excluding the impact of higher pass-through revenues, the organic revenue increase would have been 2.5%.

Looking ahead to 2018, the company targets organic revenue growth in the range of 2% to 3% and operating margin expansion of 20 basis points over the results we are reporting today, which will build on strong long-term record of improving profitability.

The company said that its board has declared a quarterly dividend on IPG common stock of $0.21 per share, payable on March 15, 2018 to holders of record at the close of business on March 1, 2018. The increase in the dividend from $0.18 to $0.21 per share represents a 17% percentage increase to the Company's quarterly dividend.

Additionally, the company's Board of Directors authorized a new program to repurchase, from time to time, up to $300 million of IPG common stock. The authorization under the new program is in addition to any amounts remaining for repurchase under the program announced in 2017.

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