WPP joy as revenues soar

Global media network WPP is celebrating after its first quarter revenues for 2004 increased by 16% to £1.11bn, on the back of the Unilever and Samsung account wins and the acquisition of Grey Global.

WPP Group, which runs creative giants agencies JWT and Ogilvy & Mather, plus the MindShare and Mediaedge:cia buying shops, saw like-for-like basis revenues up almost 6%.

In the UK alone revenue growth was up 12% to £184.4m on a constant currency basis.

All other regions showed double-digit revenue growth: North America revenues were up over 16% to £443.9m; Continental Europe grew over 15% to £291.5m; and in Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East revenue was up 22% to £194.7m.

The report also showed that the communications services, advertising and media investment management sector was up over 17% to £515.9m and public relations and public affairs increased over 12% to £117.1m.

The advertising group, which is headed by chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, also won new business billings worth £875m this quarter.

This included the £186m US Volkswagen media account and the $365m Samsung global advertising account.

The report also showed that in the first quarter both profitability and operating margin were ahead of budget, with full year margin forecasts in line with targets for 2005.

By Helen Kaye

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