WPP reports ‘strong growth’ up 6.7% in Q1 trading update

Global advertising group, WPP has reported ‘strong growth’ of 6.7% like-for-like across Q1 2022, with revenue (less-pass through costs) totaling £2.57 billion (A$4.51 billion).

The company said the year has started strongly, continuing the positive momentum built up through 2021. Revenue in the first quarter was up 6.7% at £3.1 billion (A$5.4 billion). On a constant currency basis, revenue was up 6.4% year-on-year. Like-for-like growth, excluding the impact of currency, acquisitions and disposals, was 8.1%.

Havas Group posted a 11.3% lift in organic revenue, Omnicom 11.9%, and Publicis Groupe 10%.

Revenue less pass-through costs in the first quarter was up 10.3% year-on-year to £2.6 billion (A$4.5 billion), and up 10% on a constant currency basis. Excluding the positive net impact from acquisitions and disposals, like-for-like growth was 9.5%.

The top five markets for Q1 like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs was the USA on 8.9%, the UK on 8.1%, Germany on16.1%, China on 11.9%, and India on 25.1%.

A total of US$1.8 billion net new business was won, including Mars, JDE Peet’s, Sky Launch of Everymile, the company’s commerce-as-a-service proposition; acquisition of Village Marketing; merger of Mediacom and Essence, and creation of GroupM Nexus.

WPP Q1 2022 financial results

WPP chief executive officer, Mark Read, said of the results: “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 $150 million to date, including over $1.3 million from our employee match-funding program. On 4 March, we announced that we would exit the Russian market, and we have now reached an 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% to 6.5%, up from around 5% 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.”

The company said its agencies continue to be recognised in awards and accolades. In the 2022 WARC rankings, WPP topped the holding company rankings for media and effectiveness, and MediaCom, Mindshare and Ogilvy were all ranked top in their categories. MediaCom was also named Adweek’s 2022 Global Media Agency of the Year for the second consecutive year. Grey won Gold at the International ANDY Awards for their Widen the Screen campaign for Procter & Gamble, and was also recognised in Advertising Age’s A List 2022 along with Cartwright and DAVID.

Looking ahead, the company said the year has “started strongly, with performance well ahead of our expectations in the first quarter, and client demand for our services remaining strong as we enter the second quarter.”

WPP said this underpins the company’s confidence and supports its continued investment in expanding its offer to drive long-term growth through platforms such as Choreograph in data, Finecast in connected TV and Everymile in D2C commerce.

“Our updated guidance takes into account the strong first quarter performance and the impact of the current outlook for the global economy on our business. Given the uncertain global environment, we remain ready to respond to any changes in the economy as the year progresses,” the company said. 


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