WPP revenue down 7% in first four months of 2009

LONDON - WPP revealed today (2 June) that its global revenue fell 7% in the first four months of the year, with "economic pressure" spreading to the UK, although its advertising and media investment management activities had been "least affected by the recession".

WPP:  global revenue hit by recession
WPP: global revenue hit by recession

In a trading update delivered by chairman Philip Lader at its AGM in Dublin, the company said global revenue was up 10.3%, principally reflecting the weakness of the pound sterling against the US dollar and euro. However, on a like-for-like basis, stripping out the impact of acquisitions and currency fluctuations, revenue was down 6.7% year on year.

WPP noted that information, insight and consultancy activities were "most affected" by the recession. However, it did not disclose revenue or profits at its advertising and media investment arm, which houses its media and creative agencies.

The company flagged up that over the first four months of 2009, the number of employees fell by almost 4,300 or 3.7%, in comparison with the figure at 31 December 2008. More than half the people who left, it said, did so on a voluntary basis.

WPP said that for the remainder of 2009, its focus would be on "balancing staff costs and headcount, against the fall in revenues". In the longer term, it intends to increase operating profit by 10% to 15% per annum and increase operating margins by a half to one margin point per annum.

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