International marketing and communications group Incepta, ranked thirteenth in Ad Age’s world top 100 agencies table, is laying off 150 staff after posting a sharp drop in interim earnings.

The London-headquartered company’s pre-tax profits for the six months to August 2002 stood at £3 million ($4.7m; €4.8m), down from £10.2m in the equivalent period last year.

Gross revenues slipped from £85.7m to £82.8m, while operating profits dropped from £11m to £4.3m.

The bright spot was marketing services, which benefited from a shift in media budgets away from above-the-line. Revenues at this division rose 9% to £28.6m.

“The media industry as a whole has faced a difficult economic climate in the last six months and our results reflect this very tough trading environment,” chairman David Wright commented.

“For the second half, we have yet to see any evidence of upturn in our markets and we have positioned our operations accordingly.”

Data sourced from: Incepta; additional content by WARC staff