WPP sees downturn in 2003 revenues

WPP sees downturn in 2003 revenues

WPP's revenues were down by more than two per cent to £1.91bn in the company's latest interim report for the first six months of 2003.

The like-for-like figures, excluding currency fluctuations, stated that revenues remained flat for the group.

There was better news for the group on the new business front, with the revenues generated at WPP's media agencies MindShare and Mediaedge:cia and the group's creative agencies, J Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather, Red Cell and Young & Rubicam, totalling £1.33bn.

Chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell seemed pleased with the results, but had reservations.

Sorrell stated that the industry has now had three recessionary years led by business-to-business spending and not consumer spending, which had proved to be more resilient.

He predicted that adspend would rise during 2004, citing the 2004 US Presidential Election, Athens' Olympic Games and the European Football Championship in Portugal as key indicators of growth.

Sorrell also stated that Government spending in the US was the highest since 1967 and that this should help the global advertising business "climb out of the bath"- referring to a previous comment when he indicated that the current downturn was "bath shaped".


WPP finance director Paul Richardson commented: "2003 was always going to be a pretty predictable year. We always forecast organic revenue was going to be flat.

"The US has continued to have a continuous period of modest growth for the past 10 months, the growth in Asia is in mid-single digits, we are still waiting for growth in the UK and there has been a marginal growth in Europe.

"The general attitude is one of cautious growth. There is also a tremendous bulk of US Government spending that is driving the country's economy, but we will have to see how this affects Europe."

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