NEWS4 September 2018

WPP reported revenue down 2.1% in first half

Financials Media News UK

UK – WPP’s reported revenue is down 2.1% at £7.49bn for the first half of 2018, up 2.9% on a constant currency basis, according to the group’s interim results.

Mark Read_crop

On a like-for-like basis, excluding the impact of currency headwinds and acquisitions, revenue grew by 1.6% in the first half of the year.

The second quarter saw the company’s first growth in sales since the first quarter of 2017, with like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs up 0.7%.

Reported billings were 1% lower than the first half of 2017, at £26.6bn, but up 4.1% on a constant currency basis, with the company winning new business from Adidas, Hilton, Mondelez, Office Depot and T-Mobile.

In the second quarter, like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs improved slightly for the company’s data investment management businesses, down 1.3% compared with -1.7% in Q1. Kantar Insights, Kantar Public and Kantar Health remain challenged, according to the update, but Kantar Media and Kantar Worldpanel were stronger compared with the first quarter.

Mark Read, who was confirmed as the company’s new chief executive officer yesterday ( 3rd September) following the departure of Sir Martin Sorrell in April, said: "The second quarter of 2018 was WPP’s first quarter of like-for-like growth since Q1 2017, and the company has performed strongly in terms of winning and retaining business over the period."

WPP recently sold off its stakes in Globant and AppNexus as part of a strategy to refocus its portfolio and pay down debt.

Read added: "As chief executive, my focus will be on invigorating our company and returning the business to stronger, sustainable growth. Our review of strategy is underway, addressing our structure, our underperforming operations, particularly in the United States, and how we position the company for the future."