Company Cites 'Difficult Economic Conditions' in U.S.

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- WPP Group reported its net income fell by 31.7% to $173 million for the first six months of 2002 from $254 million for the same period a year ago.

WPP, parent of such agency networks as Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson and public relations powerhouses as Hill & Knowlton and Burson Marsteller, said revenue declined 2% to $2.9 billion vs. the same period a year ago.

Difficult conditions
The company said its performance "reflects the continuing difficult economic conditions, particularly in the United States."

Given the ongoing recession, plus recent stock market declines, WPP management said that "even achieving last year's operating margins of 14% in 2002 will be difficult."

Results were announced before U.S. trading began today. Shares of the London-based company closed Aug. 19 at $38.15 and dropped to $34.53 after trading opened before recovering to about $36 in late morning.

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