WPP and Omnicom post better results

WPP and Omnicom this week raised the prospect of better times ahead for the embattled global ad market with optimistic third-quarter figures.

WPP chalked up an 11 per cent rise in revenues over the period. Omnicom, the biggest communications group in the world, saw profits rise to £79.9 million from £76.8 million.

The rise takes WPP past the £1 billion revenue mark for the first time, prompting Sir Martin Sorrell, its group chief executive, to claim: "We are climbing further out of the bath." Last year, he predicted the industry's recovery would be "bath shaped".

WPP said revenues, in constant currencies, were up 10 per cent, reflecting the acquisition of Cordiant earlier this year. On a like-for-like basis, however, excluding the impact of acquisitions and currency fluctuations, revenues rose by more than 1 per cent, and more than 2 per cent ignoring the impact of the Cordiant deal.

WPP said the UK, where its revenues rose by more than 6 per cent, continued to be most affected by the recession. However, the North American market had not only stabilised but was starting to show muted growth.

Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East were showing consistent growth while Latin America was improving significantly, the group added.

Omnicom reported a 15 per cent jump in worldwide revenue to just over $2 billion from $1.8 billion in the third quarter of 2002.

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