On a revenue increase of just 3.5 per cent to £4.44bn so WPP’s first half profits of £243.9m are yet another testament to CEO Sir Martin Sorrell’s skills as a cost-cutter (and also the fine line between profit and loss in big, people-heavy businesses).
WPP also increased its margins by a couple of percentage points to 13.1 per cent in the first half of 2010, heading back towards the promised land of 15 per cent.
But WPP’s rate of growth is still lagging that of bitter French rival Publicis Groupe which posted a spectacular 14.9 per cent growth rate in its recent quarterly figures. WPP also says growth is picking up with Europe, in particular the UK, finally showing signs of life after what seems like years in the doldrums.
The company also says it has put on £2bn of new business so far this year, ahead of all its rivals. So maybe it will start to run as fast as Publicis after all.