U.S. ECONOMY BLAMED FOR SLUGGISH EARNINGS ABROAD

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(Aug. 13, 2001) -- Cordiant Communications Group and Grey Global Group both blamed the U.S. economy when they reported first-half results today.

Cordiant posted a $447.7 million in revenue during the first half, up from $327.5 in 2000 and operating profit of $37.9 million, up from $27.5 million in 2000. But organic revenue growth -- not including exchange rates and acquisitions -- was only 0.2% and earnings per share on its American depositary receipt shares dropped to $0.246 per share from $0.321 in 2000.

Cordiant's U.S. revenue declined 6% on an organic growth basis, but it posted an overall growth of 74.7% to $145.2 million.

Grey posted 2.6% increases in both billings and revenue for the quarter, to $2.1 billion and $314.3 million, respectively. For the first half, billings grew 4% to $4.13 billion and revenue grew 4% to $619.1 million. Net for the quarter dropped to $2.43 million from $5.73 million in 2000 and basic earnings per share to $1.89 from $4.67 in 2000. For the first half, net income dropped to $2.67 million from $10.88 and basic earnings to $2.16 from $8.78 per share.

Grey's management blamed the results on severance costs to reduce its workforce and on the weakness of the U.S. economy; revenue there dropped 4% in the quarter and 7% in the half, while revenue from international operations rose 10% in both periods.

Publicis Groupe also reported today its billings grew 65% to $6.77 billion, from $4.1 billion in 2000, but factoring out the 2000 acquisitions of Saatchi & Saatchi and Nelson Communications and the effects of currency, organic growth was 6.3%. --Mercedes Cardona

Copyright August 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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