Revenue from advertising and marketing group WPP’s PR operations
grew by eight per cent last year, although operating margins lagged
behind rivals like Shandwick.
Group results for the year ended 31 December 1996 show a nine per cent
rise in revenues to pounds 1.7 billion and pre-tax profits up by 35 per
cent to pounds 153.3 million. Operating profit grew 22 per cent to
pounds 182.4 million.
PR companies contributed six per cent of total revenue and two per cent
of WPP’s pounds 182.4 million operating profits. Hill and Knowlton
continued its return to prosperity with a revenue rise of 8.4 per cent
while Ogilvy Adams and Rinehart’s income moved up by seven per cent.
Despite the revenue growth and a five per cent increase in the PR firms’
operating margins, WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell admitted that
there was still room for improvement. In particular, he said, PR
activities should aim for the ten per cent margins achieved by
The UK accounted for 19 per cent of WPP’s total group revenue and 15 per
cent of its operating profits. Worldwide new billings rose to pounds 1.3
billion compared to pounds 1.1 billion last year.