WPP reports profits up almost 30%

WPP Group has reported a pre-tax profit rise of almost 30 per cent for the first half of the year to £287m. It reported revenues of £2.86bn for the six months ending June 2006.

Globally the group won estimated net new business billings of £2.2bn, with media agencies MindShare, Mediaedge:cia and MediaCom bringing in £1.9bn of the total.

But the UK was WPP's worst performer in terms of revenue growth, registering only a 1.2 per cent rise on a like-for-like basis. This compared with growth of 9.4 per cent for Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and Middle East, 4.5 per cent in north America and 4.5 per cent in continental Europe.

WPP's statement described trading in western Europe as ‘difficult', although it had ‘improved' over the last year with the UK market ‘stabilising, at a low level of growth'.

According to WPP's group chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, future growth will be driven by new markets and new technologies.

"Our industry is becoming more and more two-paced. Slow growth in traditional media, such as network television, newspapers and magazines, more rapid growth in new media, such as direct, internet and interactive," he said.

Shares in WPP rose as the company predicted a positive outlook for the next three years, buoyed by the build up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and heavy US political spending in advance of a US presidential election.

For the six months to June 30 2005,  WPP had registed a pre-tax profit of £221m on revenue of £2.47bn.

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