WPP profits rise as it awaits Olympics boost

WPP, the world's largest ad group, posted a better-than-expected 19 rise in 2011 profit, and reaffirmed its targets for 2012, when it will benefit from the Olympics, European Soccer Championships and the US presidential election.

The company, whose portfolio includes Young & Rubicam, Ogilvy & Mather, and Group M, posted headline pretax profit of £1.229bn on revenue of £10.02bn, up 7.4 per cent.

Organic revenue growth for the year was 5.3 per cent, and headline operating margins were up 1.1 percentage points to 14.3 percent, both beating analyst expectations of five per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

It said it would grow faster than the industry in 2012 due to its strength in emerging economies and new media, and it reiterated its target of organic revenue growth of four per cent in 2012 and 50 basis points of operating margin improvement.

Organic revenue rose four per cent in January, it said, with Asia Pacific and Latin America the brightest spots.