WPP, Havas boast revenue jump, while Incepta falters

LONDON and PARIS: Both WPP and Havas reported revenue gains for the beginning of 2004, while Incepta reported a decline for its fiscal year. WPP said its PR and public affairs revenue increased 6% to $187.1 million in the first quarter of 2004, compared with the same period last year, according to an earnings statement released on April 30. The company did not release its profit figures. PR and PA represented 11% of overall revenue.

LONDON and PARIS: Both WPP and Havas reported revenue gains for the beginning of 2004, while Incepta reported a decline for its fiscal year. WPP said its PR and public affairs revenue increased 6% to $187.1 million in the first quarter of 2004, compared with the same period last year, according to an earnings statement released on April 30. The company did not release its profit figures. PR and PA represented 11% of overall revenue.

London-based WPP, the second-largest agency holding company in the world, explained that the increase in PR revenue was helped by a reclassification of some PR firms in Asia that had previously fallen under advertising. WPP's PR holdings include Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, Ogilvy, Cohn & Wolfe, and Robinson, Lerer & Montgomery.

"Public relations and public affairs, the sector most affected by the recession, has finally started to pick up," the company said in its statement.

WPP reported that its overall revenues grew 5.7% to $1.7 billion for this year's first quarter, compared with last year's.

Paris-based Havas, the world's sixth-largest agency holding company, reported first-quarter revenue of $427.7 million, a 0.7% increase over the same period last year, according to a company statement issued April 29. Havas did not break out its PR revenue. The company's PR properties include Euro RSCG, Magnet Communications, and Abernathy MacGregor.

WPP and Havas officials were not available for comment.

Incepta reported a decline in revenue and gross income for its fiscal year ending February 29, compared to the same period ending February 2003. Citigate, London-based Incepta's financial and corporate communications division, also reported a decline in gross income, down 6% to $138 million. Still, that number accounted for "pretty much 50% of [Incepta's] gross income," said Patrick Toyne-Sewell, account director for Citigate Dewe Rogerson.

Incepta posted revenue of $326.7 million for the year ending February 2004, according to a report released on May 5. That's a decline from revenue of $337.7 million for the year ending February 2003. Gross income also declined between the two time periods, from $287.9 million to $276.3 million.

"The recent improvement in market sentiment is encouraging, but uncertainty over the pace and sustainability of the global economic recovery continues to restrict our visibility," Francis Maude, Incepta Group's chairman, said in a statement.

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