WPP: UK and Western Europe lifted PR shops in Q3

WPP saw an improved performance in its PR agencies in the third quarter of 2019, although revenue in the division still dipped on a like-for-like basis.

WPP: UK and Western Europe lifted PR shops in Q3

Like-for-like revenue in the PR division – which includes Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW), Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Finsbury and Buchanan – fell 0.9 per cent in Q3. That compares to drops of 1.5 per cent in H1 and a decline of 2.6 per in Q2.

WPP said the performance was "driven by an improving trend in the United Kingdom and Western Continental Europe, partly offset by slightly weaker performance in North America and Asia Pacific".

Overall PR revenue, including acquisitions, in Q3 grew 4.5 per cent to £225m.

WPP listed BCW among four agencies that showed "significant improvement" in the UK in Q3. The company's like-for-like revenue in the UK overall grew 3.1 per cent, versus growths of 2.9 per cent in Q2 and 1.2 per cent in H1.

Overall revenue grew 0.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis to £2.725bn in Q3.

CEO Mark Read said: "Our growth in Q3 is encouraging but we are focused on delivering these longer-term goals and know there will be twists and turns along the way. Our guidance for 2019 remains unchanged.

"It continues to be a successful year for new business, with major wins in the quarter including Mondelez and eBay, but just as importantly we are growing and retaining longstanding clients, such as the US Marine Corps and Centrica, who value the depth of our understanding and the longevity of the relationship.

"In the last 12 months, WPP has taken decisive action and made substantial progress on many fronts: we have fewer, stronger agency brands; new leadership in many of our companies; enhanced central teams supporting our companies; and a renewed commitment to creativity, powered by technology.

"We have cemented our position as the largest partner to the world's leading technology firms and, most importantly, the work we do continues to be highly valued by our clients as we adapt to their changing needs in a dynamic marketplace."

Yesterday, WPP shareholders voted to approve the 60 per cent sale of its market research company Kantar to Bain Capital. Read said the transaction will "further simplify our business and significantly strengthen our balance sheet, while creating a new partnership for Kantar's future growth and development".

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