"Interpublic is no longer looking in the rear-view mirror at past financial statements," declared group cfo Frank Mergenthaler as the ailing holding company reported marginally improved H1 results.

Mergenthaler and Interpublic Group chairman/ceo Michael Roth both hailed an increase of just 0.5% in organic revenues, one of two bright spots in the six-month period which saw an overall revenue decrease of 2.7%.

But arguably the more optimistic note was struck by a year-on-year decline in operating expenses from $2.99 billion (€2.32bn; £1.57bn) in 2005 to $2.94bn. It reflects a downtick in the monstrous fees charged by the financial 'professionals' who leech on companies flailing in the fiscal deeps.

The timing of some revenue recognition, a problem identified by IPG in its first-quarter results, also caused a decline in Q2 revenues. However, second quarter net income was $68.9 million, up from $9 million last year.

Roth told analysts that H1 had seen a net positive for Interpublic's new-business performance, while Mergenthaler reported that the group should be compliant with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements by the time it files its 2007 annual report.

"Our CMG [public relations, event marketing and branding operations] and McCann units are performing well," reported Roth. "And we are confident the new directions we are taking with Lowe and Draft FCB will yield positive results."

The latter will reveal its leadership lineup, positioning and business development strategy in September.

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff