NEW YORK--Edelman and Interpublic Group PR agencies led growth during the first half of 2012, according to analysis of results from the major global networks.

The figures, again compiled in conjunction with accountant and RealWire CEO Adam Parker, compare the performance of the world’s biggest PR units: listed PR networks and privately-owned Edelman.

Edelman’s first-half revenue for 2012 grew by 8.4 percent on a like-for-like basis to $323.5m. IPG firms, which include Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris and DeVries, improved 4.3 percent, based on figures provided by the group’s CMG division, and the weighting of PR within that unit.

At the two other major holding groups, PR growth was more sluggish. Omnicom, owner of Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum and Porter Novelli, saw PR fee incomes grow by 2.6 percent to $629.1m. WPP PR firms, which include Burson-Marsteller, Hill + Knowlton Strategies and Ogilvy PR, improved by just one percent to £459m.

An exact figure for Publicis Groupe’s PR operations, under the MSLGroup banner, was unavailable, but the Holmes Report understands that the PR firm grew by approximately 3.5 percent in the first half of the year.

The MSLGroup figure is slightly ahead of the overall weighted figure for the PR firms compared here, including Huntsworth’s PR operations. For this group, PR fee income grew by 3.2 percent, suggesting sluggish expansion compared to the first half of 2011.

For the holding groups under review, furthermore, PR was narrowly outperformed by other marketing communications disciplines, which improved by 3.8 percent in the first six months of this year.

“The challenging economic landscape is making growth in revenue in both PR, and marcoms in general, difficult to come by at the moment,” said Parker. “In fact allowing for inflation the figures indicate they are both not much more than flat. The silver linings in this cloudy outlook still seem to be in digital comms, and geographically in Asia-Pacific.”