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Friday 28th of August 2009
August 26, 2009    

WPP sees H1 profits fall 47% but optimistic for H2

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by Kay Murchie

The world’s largest advertising group WPP has reported that pre-tax profits almost halved for the first half of 2009 but said the latter half of the year was “forecast to show a marked improvement in profitability”.

Pre-tax profit for the six months to the end of June plunged 47% to £179 million, while like-for-like revenue fell 8%. The advertising giant described this as a “surprise” since a fall of 4% over the six month period had been anticipated.

It also said it had been hit by the weakness of the pound against both the dollar and the euro.

The group said: “Although there is little doubt that CEOs and CMOs feel better about the general economic environment, Armageddon or apocalypse now having been averted, there is little evidence of better heads and stouter hearts translating into stronger order-books or investments.”

As a result of the economic downturn, the group has been reducing headcount over the last six month period in a bid to slash costs.

The group now has a workforce of 106,683 (excluding associates), down nearly 6% on levels this time last year.

The group, which owns the Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide public relations company, also bought market research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) last autumn for just over £1 billion.

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