WPP's first half revenue up 6 per cent

MUMBAI: The WPP board has announced its unaudited interim results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2004. Revenue was up 6 per cent to $3.70 billion.MUMBAI: The WPP board has announced its unaudited interim results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2004. Revenue was up 6 per cent to $3.70 billion.

 

 

All the regions, with the exception of Europe, showed double-digit revenue growth. In the UK, which the WPP states is still a difficult media market, revenue was up 12 per cent. Europe saw growth of 8 per cent. Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East had revenue growth of almost 29 per cent.

Headline operating profit was up over 13 per cent to $482.5 million and up over 21 per cent on a constant currency basis. Profit before tax was up almost 15 per cent to $321.4 million from $280.0 million in the same period last year.

 

 

During this period it was able to attract new business billings of $2.761 billion. The group has estimated that more than 35 per cent of new assignments in the first half of the year were generated through the joint development of opportunities created by two or more group companies. Factors that stimulated growth include the European Football Championships, the ongoing Athens Olympics and the US presidential elections.

The WPP Group was ranked first for net new business gains in the Lehman Brothers, William Blair & Company, Bear Stearns and AdAge surveys for the first six months of 2004.

On a constant currency basis, the combined revenue at Ogilvy & Mather, J Walter Thompson, Y&R Advertising, Red Cell, MindShare and Mediaedge:cia grew by over 16 per cent.

On the flip side, the WPP is concerned about the prospects for the US economy after the presidential election. Bush or Kerry will have to deal with a substantial fiscal deficit, a weak dollar and risks of inflation, not aided by high oil and commodity prices. Higher interest rates may slow the US economy, which continues to be the primary driver of the global economy, despite the increasing intra-dependency and insulation of the Asian economy.

Nontheless it has set the target of 14.5 per cent headline operating margin against a target of 13.8 per cent for this year.

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