NEWS30 April 2018

WPP’s Q1 revenue down 4%

Financials News North America UK

UK – In its first results since its chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell stepped down, WPP has reported revenue of £3.56 billion – down 4% – as the company states a new strategy focused on growth.

The results were better than some analysts had feared and it reported winning net new business worth $1.74bn in the first quarter.

While a replacement for Sorrell is pending, the business is being run by Mark Read and Andrew Scott, joint chief operating officers. They said in a statement: "In the past two weeks we have focused on spending time with our clients and people, and the response has been very encouraging. Our people are getting on with business as usual, and our clients have expressed their continued support for and confidence in WPP."

They added that they would take a fresh look at its strategy. "Our priority is to focus on growth. We will proactively address the under-performing parts of our business and we need to ensure that our capital is deployed to those areas that will grow fastest and maximise shareholder value."

In terms of business sector media investment management, public relations & public affairs and specialist communications (including direct, digital and interactive) performed well while advertising and data investment management had a more difficult time. Data investment management revenue was down 6.9%

Regionally, the UK was strong with all sectors except brand consulting growing, although Western Europe had a more challenging time, especially Germany. North America was the weakest performing region.

Speculation that WPP will be broken up continues.

The results also showed that Sorrell took home £13.9m for his last year in charge of WPP – more than 70% down on the previous year.