IPG’s Q1 Loss Doubles

NEW YORK Interpublic Group on Friday said its first-quarter loss almost doubled to nearly $17 million, or 5 cents a share, compared to a loss of $8.6 million, or 2 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenue increased 6 percent to $1.4 billion. However, on a constant currency basis, the holding company said its revenue grew less than 1 percent. Organic revenue in the first quarter was flat, but IPG noted it showed some improvement from the 1.1 percent decline in the fourth quarter.

“Performance in the quarter provides further evidence that our turnaround is successfully reaching the end of its initial phase,” IPG chief executive David Bell said in a statement. “We saw indications at many of our companies of a more favorable business climate in the United States, as well as further signs of revenue strengthening at McCann.”

Commenting on the benefits of IPG’s restructuring program, Bell said: “Excluding restructuring and long-lived asset impairment charges, operating margin in the quarter nearly doubled relative to the same measure a year ago.”

Charges associated with IPG’s previously announced restructuring initiatives were $70.2 million in the quarter, of which $7.6 million is included in office and general expenses. Non-cash investment and long-lived asset impairment charges were $8.8 million.

IPG said first-quarter revenue in the U.S. climbed nearly 4 percent, with organic revenue up 1.3 percent, compared to the same quarter in 2003. Outside the U.S., revenue rose 9.2 percent. In constant currency terms, both overall international revenue and organic revenue dropped 3 percent, IPG said.