NEWS1 March 2013

WPP’s consumer insight arm sees drop in operating profits

Financials UK

UK — WPP’s consumer insight division was down more than £10m in operating profits according to its 2012 preliminary financial report.

Reported revenue was flat at £2.46bn (or up 2.8% on a constant currency basis and up 0.8% like-for-like), representing 24.5% of the marketing services group’s sales.

Operating margins fell 0.5 margin points to 10.0% however, and headline operating profits before interest and tax were down from £258m last year to £247m.

The company, headed by Sir Martin Sorrell (pictured), said the pattern of revenue growth seen in the first nine months continued into the final quarter, “with the mature markets of North America and Continental Europe difficult but counterbalanced by strong growth in the faster growing markets of Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East”.

WPP said the central issue continued to be like-for-like revenue growth in the custom businesses in mature markets, where discretionary spending remains under review by clients.

It continued: “Custom businesses in faster growth markets and syndicated and semi-syndicated businesses in all markets, remain robust, with strong like-for-like revenue growth.”

Total group revenue was up 2.9% on a like-for-like basis and up 5.8% on a constant currency basis at £10.37bn compared with £10.02bn the previous year.

Operating profits were up from £1.43bn in 2011 to £1.53bn in 2012.