Omnicom optimistic as its PR firms show improvement

NEW YORK – The senior management of Omnicom Group, which owns several of the world's largest PR agencies, last week gave a cautiously optimistic outlook for its hard pressed PR business for the first time in recent memory.

On a conference call with investors following the release of the marketing holding company's second-quarter earnings, CEO John Wren sounded upbeat about its PR business.

"Public relations, which has been an issue for a great many quarters now, has appeared to have stabilized. While the war had an impact on many of our event and project businesses, it was far less significant than we had feared," said Wren.

Company CFO Randall Weisenburger told investors that PR had "turned the corner," reporting year-over-year revenue growth of about 1.4%. PR accounted for 11.6% of the company's total revenue in the quarter.

Omnicom, the world's second-largest marketing holding firm, has PR holdings that include Porter Novelli, Ketchum, Fleishman-Hillard, Gavin Anderson, Brodeur, and Clark & Weinstock.

On other recent conference calls, the company has highlighted PR as its most "difficult sector." And just two quarters ago, the company said PR revenue had contracted by 10.4%.

As a whole, Omnicom reported profit growth of 2%, while revenue jumped 12%, helped by a strong Euro.

While the company continued with layoffs in the quarter, CFO Weisenburger said most of the job losses were over.

"Most of the significant severance actions are behind us," said Weisenburger.

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