WPP reports return to sales growth

Mark Johnson's picture

London-based global advertising, marketing and PR firm WPP has reported a return to sales growth in its third quarter trading statement.

Organic revenue for the entire group, less pass through costs, was up 0.7% at £3.21 billion.

"WPP's performance in the third quarter is another important step in the strategy we outlined in December 2018 to return the Company to sustainable growth in line with our peers in 2021”, WPP CEO, Mark Read, said in the trading statement.

Reiterating outlook

However, the green shoots remained under scrutiny as the firm reiterated its earlier full year outlook of a drop of between 1.5% and 2%.

"Our growth in Q3 is encouraging, but we are focused on delivering these longer-term goals and know there will be twists and turns along the way. Our guidance for 2019 remains unchanged”, Read added.

The FTSE 100-listed firm remained upbeat about its new business gains, with major wins in the quarter including Mondelez and eBay, but "just as importantly", Read said, "we are growing and retaining longstanding clients, such as the US Marine Corps and Centrica, who value the depth of our understanding and the longevity of the relationship.

Kantar sale

WPP said shareholders voted on Thursday to approve the sale of its Kantar division, which Read said will further simplify the business and significantly strengthen WPP's balance sheet, while creating a new partnership for Kantar's future growth and development.

"In the last 12 months, WPP has taken decisive action and made substantial progress on many fronts: we have fewer, stronger agency brands; new leadership in many of our companies; enhanced central teams supporting our companies; and a renewed commitment to creativity, powered by technology”, Read said. 

“We have cemented our position as the largest partner to the world's leading technology firms and, most importantly, the work we do continues to be highly valued by our clients as we adapt to their changing needs in a dynamic marketplace."

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