Interpublic Group reported a net loss of $48.1 million in the first quarter, down from a net loss of $71.5 million in Q1 2010. | Adweek
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IPG Reports $48 Million Loss in Q1

Down from bigger slide last year
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Interpublic Group reduced its net loss in the first quarter compared to the same quarter last year, in part due to double-digit revenue growth.

The loss amounted to $48.1 million or 10 cents a share, down from Q1 2010’s loss of $71.5 million or 15 cents a share.

Quarterly revenue grew more than 10 percent, to $1.47 billion, and on an organic basis, climbed 9 percent. Based on those metrics, Interpublic CEO Michael Roth reiterated his pledge to deliver end-of-year organic revenue growth of 4-5 percent and an operating margin of 9.5-10 percent.

Roth described the quarterly loss as "seasonal," noting that historically "the first quarter is our smallest quarter of the year by revenue, while expenses are more consistent across the year."

During an hour-long conference call with industry analysts, Roth acknowledged macro factors that will likely impact his business this year, including the fallout from Japan's massive earthquake, political upheaval in Egypt, and the rising cost of commodities.

In Japan, "we anticipate that we will see revenue decrease in the market for the balance of the year," Roth said. He noted, however, that the country supplies just 1.5-2 percent of IPG's $6.5 billion in annual revenue.

Revenue in Egypt has been "negatively affected" by its upheaval, though overall revenue growth in the broader North Africa and Middle East region was solid in Q1, Roth said. The region supplies about 3 percent of IPG's total revenue.

While rising commodity costs have impacted the cost of foods and packaged goods, IPG has yet to see an impact on marketer ad spending.

"We have not seen marketing budgets rolled back as a result of input cost inflation," Roth said. That said, the potential for such a pullback is among the "areas of concern that we're hearing, and we are actively focused on managing through them," he added.