A record year takes WPP to profit of £1bn

THE WORLD’S biggest advertising company yesterday posted a record year as WPP’s pre-tax profits hit the £1bn milestone in 2011, a growth of 18 per cent on the year before.

The British company generated revenues of an unprecedented £10bn, up 7.4 per cent on 2010, and said it expects to generate more in 2012 thanks to landmark events including the London Olympics and the Euro football championship.

WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell expects the US presidential election to boost income by $3-4bn.

But he said a win for Obama would put “clouds on the horizon” for 2013 due to “legislative gridlock” as he confronts the budget deficit “while dealing with a Republican-controlled Senate.”

Asia-Pacific and Latin America boosted WPP last year while the UK grew revenues 6.7 per cent to £1.2bn.

Sir Martin revealed his company invested $1.6bn with Google on behalf of its clients and $200m with Facebook – a number he expects to double to $400m this year.

Sir Martin added he was “delighted” to confirm that the company’s headquarters are likely to move back to London from Dublin as soon as legislation is passed on overseas profit and subject to a shareholders meeting. WPP dished out a year-end dividend of 24.6p – up 38.3 per cent on last year.

Shares jumped five per cent to a high of 843p before closing at 827.5p.