The owner of H+K Strategies, RLM Finsbury, Cohn & Wolfe and Burson-Marsteller reported that PR revenues had risen to £225m over the quarter.
This figure represented a like-for-life rise of a more modest 1.9% and accounts for 9.4% of WPP overall revenue. In particular, the group noted that Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe showed the strongest growth.
Revenues in WPP’s UK businesses grew by 5% – 2.5% on a like for like basis – and represented 11.9% of group revenues. Notably the Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa & Middle East and Central & Eastern Europe regions together now make up 28.5% of revenues, a moving further ahead of the 23.5% in Western Europe.
Overall, group revenue grew by 7.6% to £2.39bn. Like-for-like growth was 4.0%, with 3.4% growth from acquisitions. In terms of outlook, the group stated: ‘Concerns about the eurozone crisis, The Middle East, a Chinese hard-landing and rising commodity prices certainly affected consumer and corporate confidence globally in the second half of 2011, and was reflected in a slowdown in economic activity in most geographic regions and functional sectors.
'Despite this, advertising and marketing services expenditures continued to rise as Western based multi-national companies and increasingly new-market-based companies are prepared to invest in both capacity and behind brands in fast-growing markets. At the same time, they are also prepared to invest in brands to maintain or increase market share even among slower growth Western markets, such as the United States and Western Europe.
‘This has the virtue of not increasing fixed costs, although we in the comms business regard brand spending as a fixed investment and not a discretionary cost. This positive double-whammy is clearly benefiting our industry once again this year, albeit at a slightly slower growth rate.’