Bates Canada fired eight of 133 employees, and more layoffs are expected around the world.
"You can't lose $400 million in business without losing people," said Malcolm Cullen, Bates Canada president. "In Japan, Mars was 50% of the business."
WPP's healthy financial performance, including a pretax profit of $134.8 million, will make Saatchi look even paler when it unveils its own 1994 results March 14.
"WPP is moving in the right direction .*.*. it's also got costs under control," said Mark Beilby, an S.G. Warburg analyst.
Goldman Sachs analyst Guy Lamming was more cautious: "WPP is doing well, but it's nothing to get excited about."
WPP's 8% margins fall short of the 12% to 14% reported by competitors Interpublic Group of Cos. and Omnicom Group. WPP 1994 revenue remained unchanged at $2.2 billion.
Saatchi & Saatchi Co. is expected to report pretax profits this month of about $45 million for 1994. Last month's loss of the Mars account has already prompted analysts to slash pretax profit forecasts for 1995 by $15 million to $45 million. WPP's profits are expected to rise above $150 million this year.
Joanne Ingrassia contributed to this story.