WPP: Revenue Fell 2% in Q1

NEW YORK — WPP Group on Monday reported worldwide revenue of U.S. $1.37 billion for the first quarter of 2002, down 2 percent from the same quarter last year. And, excluding acquisitions and currency fluctuations, revenue fell nearly 9 percent, according to WPP.

Despite the decline, WPP said it was “on target” to achieve its budgeted operating margin.

Analyzed by region, the revenue decline was the greatest in North America, where on a constant currency basis, it was down 7 percent from the first quarter of 2001, WPP said. On the same basis, revenue was up 6 percent in continental Europe, up 2 percent in the U.K. and up 3 percent for Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

In a breakdown by discipline–also using constant currency–revenue from information and consultancy companies grew 6 percent, while that derived from advertising and media services declined 1 percent, WPP said. The steepest decline in revenue was among public relations and public affairs units, which fell 13 percent.

Following the earnings report, shares of WPP dipped $1.88, or 3.3 percent, to close at $55.46.

Rival holding companies Omnicom Group and Interpublic Group of Cos. will report first-quarter earnings next week. Omnicom’s announcement is scheduled for Tuesday, while Interpublic’s is on Thursday.