The holding company reported net sales of $857.3m over six months to the end of 2018, a decrease of 1.4 per cent from the same period in the previous year.
Before tax and interest, earning were $121m, a drop of 12.8 per cent from 2017’s 138.7m, while the group’s operating margin declined from 15.9 per cent to 14.1 per cent.
WPP AUNZ’s EBITDA fell 11.9 per cent to $133.3m, reporting a $9.5m loss after tax, down from the $80.7m profit in the previous period.
Executive director of WPP AUNZ John Steedman (feature image) said: “We are disappointed that the strong performance across many of our businesses has not translated into positive group financial results.
“We have taken quick action to remedy these underperforming segments in our business”.
The group’s advertising and media investment accounted for the company’s profit slides, reporting a 2.9 per cent drop in income to $481.1m, while the group’s EBIT fell 12.7 per cent to 68.6m, with margins easing from 15.9 per cent to 14.3 per cent.
Steedman further said: “We have accelerated the pace in which we make changes to right-size the business and to allocate our capital to the areas of our business with the greatest opportunity to generate profitable growth.
“In the 2018 year, we made significant investments for the future as we combined the strengths of traditional and digital creative agencies of VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson, created a new Melbourne campus housing 15 agencies, and reshaped the portfolio of companies under the WPP AUNZ Group.
“During the year, we acquired additional WPP related entities and increased shareholdings in existing businesses where we had a minority stake, allowing us to execute on strategic initiatives with greater speed and control.
“Like almost every industry, we too, are facing structural change.
“We have seen rapid digital transformation, economic headwinds, market changes and we know that chief marketing officers, and the C-Suite in general, are seeking agility and responsiveness when it comes to their marketing needs.
“Our clients look to us to help them navigate this new world and to remove any complexity that might be an impediment to growth.
“As a business, our vision is to offer a far simpler structure and to utilise technology and data wherever we can to help our clients talk to, and transact with, their customers and other key stakeholders as effectively and easily as possible”.