City & Corporate: WPP reports rise in PR/PA margins

Global marcoms group WPP has reported revenue growth in its PR and public affairs business for the first time in nearly three years.

WPP's PR and PA businesses - which include Hill & Knowlton, Ogilvy PR and Finsbury - improved their margins by two per cent to 12.9 per cent in 2003, according to the firm's annual report and accounts for its last financial year.

But the figure is less than WPP's stated goal of a 15 per cent profit margin and the group admitted to 'an obvious need to continue to improve the results'.

WPP group's total pre-tax profit rose 70 per cent to almost £350m.

WPP said that western Europe had showed 'little sign of recovery' and identified the UK, France and Germany as especially difficult markets.

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