WPP reports global revenue growth for third quarter

LONDON: WPP's revenues grew about 4% to ?1.068 billion ($1.997 billion) and public relations and public affairs revenues shrunk by .3% in the third quarters of 2004 from 2003.

LONDON: WPP's revenues grew about 4% to ?1.068 billion ($1.997 billion) and public relations and public affairs revenues shrunk by .3% in the third quarters of 2004 from 2003.

The London holding agency recently agreed to buy competitor Grey Global Group.

WPP's 3rd quarter 2004 North American revenue was ?416.9, down from its 2003 3rd quarter revenue of ?424.4. However, if not taking into consideration currency fluctuations, WPP reported NA revenue increases of 10.4%.

Global PR and public affairs revenue shrunk to ?112.5 in the 3rd quarter of 2004, from ?112.8 in that same quarter in 2003. Discounting currency fluctuations, the revenue increase was tabbed at 8%.

The decrease in North America and general non-UK billings decreases were blamed on devalued currencies.

WPP CEO Martin Sorrel told CNBC that he was pleased with the currency-constant North American growth.

"I think we feel pretty good about the US," Sorrel said. "The issue about the US is what happens after the election? Whoever gets elected is going to have to deal with a big deficit, a weak dollar and potential inflation because of oil price increases."

And, overall, Sorrel said he felt bullish about the firm's prospects for 2005.

WPP won new business billings of ?234 million ($427 million) during this quarter, combining with the other two for a total of ?1,771 million ($3,188 million) for the first nine months. WPP also said that it is waiting on a further $3 billion of new business in the 4th quarter.

The acquisition of Grey Global Group, which was agreed upon on September 13, 2004, still must be approved by Grey shareowners. Ed Meyer, Grey chairman and CEO, has already agreed to vote all of in favor of the transaction, which is expected to be completed in early 2005.

WPP's PR agencies include Burson Marsteller, Hill and Knowlton, Ogilvy, and Cohn & Wolfe.

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