IPG releases 'preliminary' revenue results

NEW YORK: Interpublic Group announced 2004 revenues of $6.2 billion worldwide, but emphasized that the results are preliminary and may change.

NEW YORK: Interpublic Group announced 2004 revenues of $6.2 billion worldwide, but emphasized that the results are preliminary and may change.

In a conference call Tuesday morning, IPG Chairman and CEO Michael Roth said that the company's commitment to keeping investors apprised of its ongoing accounting review was the motivation for releasing the preliminary numbers. Roth also stressed to analysts that IPG's extensive financial control problems, which have delayed the filing of its 2004 and early 2005 financial results, are a separate issue from the work of its companies, which he characterized as "very strong."

The preliminary revenue figure was an increase of 5.8% over 2003, the company said. IPG also reported that it had achieved positive organic revenue growth for the first year since 2000.

Roth said business in the US and Asia was strong last year, but Europe was weak. He named PR as one of the company's growth areas.

CFO Bob Thompson noted in the call that professional fees related to IPG's accounting review cost the company $93 million, "dragging on our operating income."

Nevertheless, Roth said, "Addressing internal controls is our most pressing priority."

Roth repeatedly declined to provide more specific financial information to analysts, saying that the company's review was still under way. Some analysts were audibly frustrated.

Interpublic's PR agencies include Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris, and MWW.

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