LONDON: WPP Group said Wednesday that its PR and public affairs revenue was down 3.2% on a like-for-like basis in the first four months of the year but showed improvement in April.
The London-based holding company reported that revenue in the sector ticked up in April, but that “North America and Western Continental Europe remain more difficult.” The company did not release a total revenue figure for PR and public affairs for the first four months of 2013. In April, it reported a 4.1% like-for-like revenue decrease in its PR and public affairs sector to about $341.7 million.
WPP owns and operates Burson-Marsteller, Cohn & Wolfe, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, and Ogilvy Public Relations, among others.
The holding company said its overall like-for-like revenue was up 2.3% in the first third of the year to about $5.3 billion, an improvement over the 2.1% growth it reported in Q1. Operating profit was above budget, it added.
“The pattern of revenue growth seen in 2012, with slower growth in the mature markets of the US and Western Continental Europe, has continued, although the UK continued to ‘buck' market trends, growing strongly,” the holding company said in the trading update issued Wednesday.
In North America, revenue dropped 0.3% in the four-month period. WPP said it saw stronger growth in consumer insight and healthcare in the region, yet its advertising, media, PR and public affairs, and branding and identity businesses “continue to expand, but at slower rates.”
Meanwhile, like-for-like growth in the UK was up 5%, while the region comprised of Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, and Central and Eastern Europe saw 6.8% like-for-like growth. Of that group, Latin America saw a 10.4% like-for-like revenue increase.
More than 99% of shareholders voted to reelect CEO Martin Sorrell, as well.
Like-for-like growth represents change in revenue without taking into account the impact of currency change, acquisitions, or disposals.