WPP PR & public affairs arm becomes firm's strongest performer in Q3

WPP has reported a five per cent rise in like-for-like revenue in its PR and public affairs arm in Q3, making it the company's strongest-performing division in the quarter.

WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell
WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell

All regions showed positive net sales growth in Q3, WPP said, with "particularly strong growth" in the UK, Continental Europe, Latin America and Africa.

The advertising and marcomms giant again highlighted Cohn & Wolfe among the top performers in the division, saying the agency experienced "especially strong growth globally" in both Q3 and the first nine months of 2016.

Cohn & Wolfe CEO Donna Imperato said in an emailed statement that her firm saw double-digit organic global growth in the quarter and "will deliver strong double-digit growth this year, our third in a row, driven by significant demand in the integrated marketing space across all regions and practices."

Growth was also especially strong at WPP’s US content shop SJR, and at Finsbury and Hering Schuppener, the financial PR agencies that formed an alliance earlier this year, the company said.

The Q3 performance represents an acceleration of the three per cent figure achieved in the first half by WPP, whose PR agencies also include Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Burson-Marsteller and Ogilvy PR. Like-for-like revenue growth across the first nine months of 2016 was 3.5 per cent.

Overall, revenue in the division was £287m ($349.4, €318.9m) in Q3. Stripping out the impact of currency fluctuations, revenue growth (including acquisitions) was 8.5 per cent. Including currency fluctuations, revenue growth was 25.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, WPP's branding & identity, healthcare and specialist communications businesses saw revenue grow 2.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis in Q3. However, within this, the firm said growth in parts of the specialist communications and healthcare businesses was slower.

Across the business, like-for-like revenue in Q3 grew 3.2 per cent. Overall revenue growth was 7.6 per cent on a constant currency basis, reaching £3.6bn ($4.4bn, €4bn).

WPP said the impact of sterling’s weakness, particularly in Q3, had a positive impact on margins. Operating margins were up 0.4 margin points in the quarter.

The company said it was looking ahead to 2017 with "continued caution being the watchword".

This story was updated on October 31 with a statement from Imperato.

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.