WPP global hits 'headwinds' with revenue growth prospects still weak

By Chris Pash | 13 June 2019

WPP, at its annual general meeting in London, told shareholders it expects a 1.5% to 2% drop in revenue for the full year in 2019.

The company says it hit  "stronger headwinds" in the first half, due to client assignment losses in the latter part of 2018.   

The update is in line with the first quarter trading result in April which foresahdowed a "challenging" year, especially in the first half.

Like-for-like revenue was down 2.8% in the first threee months.

The Australia and New Zealand market was described, in the April update, as "difficult" but the US was the weakest performing region with like-for-like first quarter revenue down 8.5%. 

However, the global advertising holding group says it is making good progress in implementing a three-year strategy to return WPP to sustainable growth.

"We continue our programme of new investment in creativity, technology and our people, and remain absolutely focused on the needs of our clients and the interests of all our shareholders," says Mark Read, chief executive officer of WPP. 

“Our new business performance this year has been solid."

In Australia, WPP AUNZ posted a statutory loss of $17.1 million for 2018 on top of impairments and a hit to revenue from its Advertising, Media Investment Management segment.

WPP AUNZ says it is in an industry facing structural change with rapid digital transformation combined with economic headwinds.

in London overnight, global CEO Read highlighted GroupM's successful record in pitches.

Notable wins for WPP and its agencies include adidas, Distell, Duracell, GSK, KangShiFu Drinks, L’Oréal, Signet and VodafoneZiggo.

“We believe in providing our people with outstanding, creative environments that enable them to do their best work, and we have accelerated the roll-out of WPP campuses around the world, with Amsterdam, Bucharest, Helsinki, Johannesburg, Madrid, Milan and Mumbai opening this year," says Read

“The transformation of our culture is just as important as the transformation of our business, and to help drive that change we have moved WPP’s own headquarters to campus locations in both London and New York – bringing us closer to our agencies and reflecting the collaborative spirit we want to foster throughout the company.”

Read says the process for the sale of a majority stake in data investment management company Kantar is progressing in line with expectations.

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