LONDON. WPP Group on Friday reported its sixth consecutive profits increase. Net income rose year-on-year by 2.9% to £181.9 million ($360.67m; €267.32m) from £176.7m, with revenue up 2% to £2.92bn in the six months to June 30.

Like-for-like revenues were up 5.3%.

The group's US business continues to expand, on a constant currency basis up by more than 8% in the first half, compared with 6.5% growth in the first quarter. Net new business billings were in the region of £1.6bn.

Emulating Q1 performance, the fastest-growing regions were Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, with total revenues up almost 12%.

Continental Europe was up 6% (versus 4.4% in Q1), with central and eastern Europe especially robust at almost 19%.

In its own UK backyard, growth was the slowest within WPP's global fiefdom, with revenues up 3.7%, and gross margin up 4.9%. The company blames this on the relative scale of British market research revenues.

Fifty-three percent of the group's revenues came from sources other than advertising and media investment management.

However, some eyebrows were raised by Sir Martin Sorrell's uncharacteristic optimism. Renowned for his caution, WPP's ceo predicts a "bumper" year in 2008, buoyed by the Beijing Olympics and US political spending in the run-up to the presidential election.

His prediction [perhaps whistling in the dark?] appears to ignore the Damoclean Sword of subprime debt and continuing turbulence of the global stock markets.

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff