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WPP financials steady in H1 2012

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MUMBAI: London headquartered global media communications network WPP plc has reported a 5.5 per cent growth in revenues for the half year ended 30 June 2012. The revenues in the first half were ?4.927 billion, up from ?4.713 billion a year earlier.

WPP?s profit before interest and tax was ?570 million, which is a 10 per cent increase over ?518 million a year earlier.

The first half of the year saw an estimated ?2.475 billion come in from new business while the total billing for H1 2012 was up by 1.2 per cent at ? 21.651 billion.

Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa, Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe remained the strongest region, with revenues up 8.5 per cent from ?1.33 billion in the first half of H1 to ? 1.446 billion this year. Brazil, Russia, India and China were significant contributors to this figure. The region accounted for 29.1 per cent of the group?s half yearly revenue.

Advertising and media investment management (AMIM) contributed to 41.1 per cent of the group?s revenue at ? 2.044 billion followed by branding and identity, healthcare and specialist communications (BI, HC and SC) at ? 1.278 billion (25.3 per cent).

The revenue for the second quarter stood at ? 2.58 billion, which is 3.6 per cent higher than ? 2.49 billion for the first half of 2011. The APAC, Lat Am, Africa, Middle East and Western and Central Europe region together pitched in for 29.6 per cent of the group?s total revenue in Q2 FY13 growing from ? 720 million in the second quarter of 2011 to ? 765 million in the corresponding quarter this year (up by 6.2 per cent).

In Q2 FY13, AMIM contributed ? 1.071 billion (41.5 per cent) to the group?s revenue followed by BI, HC and SC 25.3 per cent).

In a statement released along with the results, WPP said, "The focus in 2012 will be revenue growth from leading position in faster growing geographic markets and digital, "horizontality", premier parent company creative position, new business strength and strategically targeted acquisitions. We will also maintain continued emphasis on balancing revenue growth with headcount increases and improvement in staff costs/revenue ratio to enhance operating margins."

WPP said July 2012 revenues were up over 3 per cent like-for-like and showed a similar pattern to the second quarter, although the UK, Western Continental Europe, Africa & the Middle East and Latin America were ahead of the second quarter growth rates with the USA and Asia Pacific below. Cumulative like-for-like revenue growth for the first seven months of 2012 is now 3.5 per cent.

The group?s second quarter revised forecasts, having been reviewed at the parent company level in the first half of August, indicate very similar levels of like-for-like revenue growth for the year.

According to the revised forecast, a slight reduction in like-for-like revenue growth from the first quarter revised forecast, with first and second half more balanced and headline operating margin target, as previously, of 14.8 per cent, up 0.5 margin points.

In line with WPP?s strategic focus on new markets, new media and consumer insight, the group completed 40 transactions in the first half of 2012 -- 20 acquisitions and investments were in new markets (of which 14 were in new media), 13 in consumer insight, including data analytics and the application of technology, with the balance of 7 driven by individual client or agency needs.

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