DUBLIN, IRELAND: WPP Group's PR and public affairs revenue rose 4.6% on a like-for-like basis in 2011 to $1.4 billion. Operating margins for PR ticked up 0.3 points to 16.1%.
The marketing services holding company specifically praised Cohn & Wolfe, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, and Hering Schuppener in Germany for strong performances last year. The company as a whole reported revenue growth of 7.4% to $15.9 billion for the full year. In Q4, like-for-like revenues were up 4.5%, "down slightly on the third quarter, primarily due to stronger comparatives," according to a company earnings statement.
In North America, WPP revenue grew by 2.9% on a like-for-like basis to $5.4 billion. Emerging markets, particularly Latin America, drove significant growth at the company, improving by more than 12% for the combined regions compared with last year.
WPP won $5.16 billion in net new business in 2011, up 7% year-over-year. The holding company reported a full-year 2011 profit after taxes of $1.46 billion, an increase of nearly 40% compared with the prior year. The group's headline profit before interest and tax grew 16% to $2.28 billion, while the headline profit before tax increased 19% to $1.96 billion.
The holding company's PR and public affairs revenue grew 7.4% in Q3 2011.
WPP acquired Washington-based strategic communications and government relations firm The Glover Park Group, which has more than 140 employees and offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Boulder, CO, in November.
The holding company also launched the “Team Lincoln” boutique agency in December to serve its client Ford's Lincoln brand. That same month, Ogilvy bought a majority stake in Hong Kong-based healthcare communications firm Mind Resource Healthcare Consulting.
Cohn & Wolfe also expanded its efforts in China, acquiring Impactasia, an independent agency with offices throughout that country. The merged firm, which focuses on travel and tourism, art and design, luxury goods, healthcare, technology, and consumer packaged goods, is now known as Cohn & Wolfe-Impactasia.