WPP Group sees 2.5% first half revenue growth; profits up 39%

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WPP Group's branding and identity, healthcare and specialty communications group, which includes its direct, digital and interactive agencies, saw like-for-like revenue growth of 1.8% for the first six months of 2010, compared to the year before. The holding company saw overall like-for-like revenue growth of 2.5% for the first six months of 2010 on a year-over-year basis.

Billings for the first half of 2010 were up 8.5% to about $31.43 billion, while profits were up 39.1% to about $191 million, compared to the first half of 2009, when the global economy was in the throws of the recession. The holding company operates OgilvyOne, Wunderman, Blast Radius and various other agencies.

North America's like-for-like revenue growth, which excludes the impact of currency movements and acquisitons, was up 5.8% year-over-year during the first half of 2010.

Like-for-like revenues for WPP's advertising and media investment management division increased 3% from 2009 during the first half. Revenues for the holding company's consumer insight division increased 2.4% on a like-for-like basis for the first six months of the year.

The holding company noted in statement that while “politicians, journalists, economists, analysts and investors argue over double-dips, inflation or deflation, the most likely scenario is a slow growth ‘slog' particularly in the mature geographical markets and traditional media markets, perhaps with inflation or higher interest rates in the long term.”

The numbers are a marked improvement from the last time the holding company released its earnings. For full-year 2009, the company's branding and identity, healthcare and specialty communications group, saw like-for-like revenues decline 6.2% compared to the year before. The holding company's overall like-for-like revenues declined 6.2% for 2009, in comparison to 2008.

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