Cordiant and WWP caution

Cordiant and WWP caution

Bungey: no return to growth this year

Cordiant Communications  revealed last year's pre-tax profits were down 55% as it released its delayed year-end results.

Profits at the advertising company, which owns a 22% stake in the Zenith Optimedia network, fell from £57.5m in 2000 to £25.7m during "an extremely difficult year" in 2001.

The release of its results came on the heels of a finalization agreement with its banks, in which Cordiant renegotiated the terms of its $400m (£276m) loan, following fears that that it may breach the terms of its debt covenants.

Group revenues increased by 17.9% to £605m across the year, but on an underlying basis were down eight per cent.

Chief executive Michael Bungey said there would be no return to growth this year. "While previous rates of revenue decline have abated and we're seeing early signs of business activity emerge, we forecast no revenue growth this year."

Meanwhile, WPP, under chief executive Martin Sorrell, continued the pessimistic tone in a quarterly trading update. WPP's revenues for the first quarter fell by two per cent. On a like-for-like basis, excluding acquisitions and currency fluctuations, revenues were down by almost nine per cent. 

Public relations suffered most heavily during the period - down 13%, while communication services, advertising and media remained flat.

Net business billings at the company - the second largest advertising group in the world - reached £500m in the first three months of the year, largely as a result of further consolidation within the industry.

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