WPP still lags behind Publicis despite record growth figures

WPP is really firing on all cylinders now, judging by its latest quarterly figures which showed a like-for-like revenues increase of 7.5 per cent, its highest growth rate since 2000 and more than twice the revenue rise for the first half of the year.

Underlying revenues rose to £2.25 billion and the company, which owns the giant JWT and Ogilvy & Mather agencies among many others, has seen a like-for-like increase every month this year apart from a small drop in June.

Yet CEO Sir Martin Sorrell warned that this performance cannot go on for ever, and he’s particularly surprised by the figures from the US, which he says “is behaving more like an emerging market than a mature one,” with like-for-like growth of 9.3 per cent.

In other areas the growth patterns were more predictable. China and India led the field with revenue increases of 23 and nearly 15 per cent respectively while the UK was up 7.6 per cent, western continental Europe 4.7 per cent and the combined regions of Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and Middle-East and eastern Europe growing at 7.6 per cent.

It’s clear that with emerging markets now accounting for 30 per cent of WPP revenues, the group will be concentrating its efforts on those regions, where there is immense potential as millions of fresh consumers come into play each year.

So Sir Martin will be a happy man this morning, but for one small, or maybe not so small, niggle. He still hasn’t caught up with Maurice Levy’s Publicis Groupe's growth rate, which yet again led the way at 9.2 per cent up for organic revenues earlier this month.

Still it just keeps another target in his sights and wards off any danger of him becoming complacent.

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About David O'Reilly

David is a former deputy editor of Campaign and writer for a number of leading titles including Management Today and the Sunday Times. He is a partner in The Editorial Partnership.