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CHICAGO-Jones Lang LaSalle’s cost-cutting efforts have paid off in a $3.5-million profit in the second quarter for the real estate service company, against a $1.9-million loss in the same period a year ago. However, while shedding payroll accounted for the lion’s share of $49 million in cost savings, the company concedes it will have to step up efforts to stop its top producers from leaving for greener pastures.

“One of the consequences of being recognized as a market leader is that our people are constantly in demand from not only our competitors, but from our clients,” says president and chief executive officer Christopher Peacock in the company’s second-quarter conference call. “We recognize the importance to keep and reward our key people and talent.”

Dragged down by a 23% drop in leasing activity, Jones Lang LaSalle’s Americas operation saw profits drop 17% in the second quarter. However, Peacock indicates further cuts in the US payroll other than “normal housekeeping” are not anticipated. “We’re comfortable with the level of costs savings that we’ve made,” Peacock says. “Obviously, we’re monitoring markets at all times.”

The cream of Jones Lang LaSalle’s crop may be in advisory services area, as fees increased 16%. Meanwhile, management fees fell by 6%. Besides landing new clients, the emphasis has been on expanding relationships with international companies such as Whirlpool Corp. and United Technologies Corp., says chief operating officer Peter C. Roberts. Another recent “win” for Jones Lang LaSalle has been listing 34 Wal-Mart stores for sale, he adds.

The payoff for some of those assignments won’t be seen in Jones Lang LaSalle’s bottom line until next year, Peacock cautions.

Meanwhile, Jones Lang LaSalle still is in the red to the tune of $529,000 for the first half of the year. However, that’s an improvement from a $5.5-million deficit in the first half of 2001.

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