WPP plans to grow PR and marketing despite profits fall

LONDON - WPP Group this week outlined plans to increase PR and marketing services to two thirds of its overall revenue despite revealing disappointing PR figures in its latest set of year-end results.

PR and marketing services already accounts for the majority of the group's revenue base, providing 53%. But the group revealed this week that it hopes to increase the sector's revenue contribution to 67% in the long-term.

The news comes as the group unveils its 2002 results, which reveal an 8% decline in PR and public affairs revenues, alongside an overall halving of pre-tax profits to £205m.

WPP's New York-based executive vice-president of PR and public affairs Howard Paster said the "opportunities for PR are still there".

While WPP reported an overall 19% drop in pre-tax profits for 2002, rival Omnicom's quarterly figures out this week showed a 10% rise in profits for the same period.

Omnicom's non-US operations were not quite as robust, however, with just a 3% revenue increase to £2.1bn. CEO John Wren said jobs across Europe may have to be shed due to international economic conditions.

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