NEW YORK—Interpublic, parent company of international public relations agencies Weber Shandwick and GolinHarris and specialty firms Bragman Nyman Cafarelli and DeVries Public Relations, saw revenues increase by 6.2 percent last to $6.96 billion, but fourth quarter revenues were down by 4.1 percent to around $1.9 billion as the economic downturn took its toll.
Public relations revenues for the year were up by 6.8 percent, and Interpublic chief executive Michael Roth told analysts and reporters that the company’s PR business appeared to be “relatively resilient,” while events and sports marketing were hit most by falling marketing budgets.
Roth acknowledged that for the group as a whole trading “deteriorated markedly in the last four to six weeks of the year,” but Interpublic improved its adjusted operating margin to 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter, from 5.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2007, and earnings per share increased from 29 cents in 2007 to 57 cents last year, a result of what Roth says was “the best performance IPG has delivered in many years.”
A memo to Weber Shandwick employees indicated that the company was continuing to grow in 2009, “with January coming in stronger than the previous January 2008. Given the challenging global environment, this early momentum is something you should be proud of.”