WPP Unveils Impressive Q1s As GroupM & The PR Divisions Shine

WPP Unveils Impressive Q1s As GroupM & The PR Divisions Shine

The world’s biggest media company, WPP, has unveiled its first quarter numbers overnight, posting a 6.7 per cent rise in revenues to £3.1 billion ($A5.4 billion) as its GroupM media agencies and PR offerings shone.

Revenue was up 6.4 per cent year-on-year. Like-for-like growth, excluding the impact of currency, acquisitions and disposals, was 8.1 per cent. Watch WPP CEO Mark Read’s interview with Bloombergs below:

Revenue less pass-through costs in the first quarter was up 10.3 per cent year-on-year to £2.6 billion ($A4.6 billion), and up 10 per cent on a constant currency basis. Excluding the positive net impact from acquisitions and disposals, like-for-like growth was 9.5 per cent.

PR was the holding company’s standout performer, up 14 per cent and “continuing its very strong momentum of the past 18 months,” WPP said.

Meanwhile, revenues for its GroupM media agencies were up 12.8 per cent. Revenues for the creative agencies rose a more modest 5.6 per cent.

Germany was the best performing territory, up more than 16 per cent. While “rest of the world” (where Australia is lumped) was up 11.9 per cent.

Highlights of the numbers included:

  • Q1 revenue +6.7%; LFL revenue +8.1%
  • Q1 LFL revenue less pass-through costs +9.5%
  • Top five markets Q1 LFL revenue less pass-through costs: USA +8.9%, UK +8.1%, Germany +16.1%, China +11.9%, India +25.1%
  • LFL revenue less pass-through costs by business sector: Global Integrated Agencies +8.6% (GroupM +12.8%, ex GroupM +5.6%), Public Relations +14.1%, Specialist Agencies +13.0%
  • $1.8 billion net new business won, including Mars, JDE Peet’s, Sky
  • Launch of Everymile, our commerce-as-a-service proposition; acquisition of Village Marketing; merger of Mediacom and Essence, and creation of GroupM Nexus
  • £362 million of share buybacks in Q1
  • 2022 guidance raised: LFL revenue less pass-through costs growth now expected to be 5.5-6.5%, up from around 5%

WPP CEO Mark Read (main photo) commented: “The year has started very well with continued momentum from 2021 resulting in strong growth across all businesses and regions. Demand is strong for our services, particularly in digital media, ecommerce, data and marketing technology.

“The war in Ukraine has created an appalling humanitarian crisis. We continue to support our people in Ukraine, many of whom are now displaced, with financial and practical assistance. Our partnership with the UNHCR on their emergency fundraising appeal has generated $US150 million ($A210 million) million to date, including over $US1.3 million ($A1.8 million) from our employee match-funding programme. On 4 March, we announced that we would exit the Russian market, and we have now reached agreement to divest our businesses there.

“We continue to see strong demand for our services from our clients and to invest in the many opportunities for growth driven by the digital transition, including Choreograph and the recent launch of Everymile. As a result of a strong first quarter, we now expect our growth to be in the range of 5.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent, up from around five per cent at the start of the year. We remain very mindful of the impact of the broader macroeconomic environment on our business and will respond quickly to any changes as the year progresses.”


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