updated 2/17/2004 9:11:16 AM ET 2004-02-17T14:11:16

Omnicom Group, the world’s largest advertising conglomerate, Tuesday said quarterly profit rose nearly 10 percent as an advertising industry recovery picked up speed.

Omnicom, home to ad agencies including BBDO Worldwide and DDB Worldwide, posted fourth-quarter net profit of $221.3 million, or $1.17 per share, up from $201.5 million, or $1.08 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue grew to $2.5 billion from $2.12 billion. U.S. revenue rose 15 percent to $1.3 billion, while international revenue increased 22 percent to $1.18 billion.

Omnicom said revenue rose 7.6 percent if the weakness of the dollar and the impact of recent acquisitions are factored out, a key benchmark in the advertising industry known as ”organic revenue.”

“Topline growth looks a little better than I thought. They seem to be on their way back” said Edward Atorino, analyst at Blaylock & Partners, who rates Omnicom a “hold.”

Atorino said Omnicom holds a more stable position than its two main competitors, Interpublic Group of Cos. Inc. and WPP Group Plc, ahead of an expected rise in ad spending this year from the Olympic Games and the U.S. presidential elections.

Analysts polled by Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters Group Plc, forecast on average fourth-quarter earnings of $1.18 per share on revenue of $2.4 billion.

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