WPP lifts first half pre-tax profits by 40%

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LONDON -- London-based WPP reports pre-tax profits up 40% at $104m for the six months to June 30, on revenue up 12.7% at $1.3bn. Like for like margins were lifted by 1.2% to 10.2% during the period.

North America provided the bulk of the revenue generation (43%), while Asia Pacific, Latin America nudged the region into second place in the revenue growth stakes. Overall, the first half of the year brought more than $887m billings in net new business wins.

The Group says it will continue to focus on achieving margin and staff cost to revenue targets, where it claims progress is being made. Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide's and J. Walter Thompson's combined staff cost to revenue ratio has fallen from 58.9% to 58% in the first half of 1996 compared with the same period in 1995, for example.

Hamish Maxwell, appointed to the board as a non-executive director in July, will take over as chairman from Gordon Stevens on October 1. Maxwell was president of Philip Morris Companies Inc. until 1991, when he became chairman of that group's executive committee. WPP consists of companies spanning media advertising, market research, public relations and specialist communications, that include O&M Worldwide, JWT, Research International, Coley Porter Bell and Hill and Knowlton.

Copyright August 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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