WPP Group, London, helped by growth in its core U.S. and European markets, saw after-tax profits for 1998 jump 20.8% to $239 million. The holding company that includes Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and J. Walter Thompson Co. boosted revenue 9.8% to $3.1 billion as gross billings climbed 9.8% to $13.1 billion. Revenue in 1998 was divided among North America (41.6%), the U.K. (20.5%), continental Europe (20.5%) and the remaining 17.4% spread across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East. For WPP, 1998 was the first year the group's non-media advertising activities represented more than half of total billings. In addition, Internet-related billings, measured for the first time, totaled $120 million, with revenue of about $60 million, or 4% of ad billings.
Copyright February 1999, Crain Communications Inc.