New York-headquartered agency holding company Interpublic Group, the globe's third largest communications services firm after Omnicom and WPP, on Thursday reported a second quarter loss of $5.4 million (€4.48m; £2.96m).

Few are likely to cheer the result, albeit a distinct improvement on the $13.5m deficit registered in the same period last year.

IPG attributed the continuing red results to lacklustre numbers from its European units where organic revenues fell 6%; also the burden of complying with new US corporate reforms -- notably the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in 2002 after a spate of corporate accounting scandals.

Revenues increased 3% to $1.54bn from $1.49bn in 2003, and organic revenues struggled upward by just 0.3% after excluding currency fluctuations and acquisitions -- the first such rise since 2001. US organic revenues were far healthier, up 2.3%.

In the face of the disappointing result, ceo David Bell still found reasons to be cheerful. In particular, the growth in organic revenues. He refuted speculation that IPG's mediocre results could lead to a sell-off of some of its poorer-performing units.

"There are enormous consolidations to be made in a number of key areas that we've previously disclosed, particularly back room and in financial. But a break-up of the company is not on our horizon," Bell insists.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff