‘2023 was more challenging than we expected’: WPP profits plunge 60%

Global advertising group WPP has published its full year results for 2023, reporting slight gains in revenue in what was otherwise a very challenging year.

Revenue was reported at £14.845 billion, up 2.9 per cent on the previous year, while reported operating profit plunged 60.9 percent down to £531 million.

WPP global chief executive Mark Read attributed to results to “cuts in spending by technology clients”, but remained optimistic, pointing to a 0.9 per cent increase in like for like revenue growth and a 0.2 per cent improvement in headline operating margin on a constant currency basis.

“Our net new business of $4.5bn in 2023 included major new assignments with clients such as Allianz, Krispy Kreme, Mondelēz, Nestlé, PayPal and Verizon and reflects a stronger year-on-year performance in the fourth quarter,” he continued. ‘

“We are optimistic about the strategic opportunities ahead of us and are confident that we can deliver accelerated and increasingly profitable growth over the medium term.”

Through 2023, the group looked to streamline costs through the creation of several new merged brands. EssenceMediacom launched in market at the start of the year, with last year’s announced merger of VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson to return the VML brand took effect in January. The same month WPP announced the merger of PR brands Hill & Knowlton and BCW Global.

WPP did not provide any specific figures for Australia or the Asia Pacific (APAC) market, with region falling under the ‘rest of world category, which also includes Latin America, Africa and Middle Eat, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Looking forward, the group has signaled a continued investment in artificial intelligence and other technologies, which will be at the heart of WPP’s operations and client work.

“Our AI-powered platform, WPP Open, is now being used by more than 30,000 people across WPP with
growing adoption by our clients,” he said.


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