UK and US growth pushes WPP profit

WPP has said this morning that it saw third quarter revenues up 7.4 per cent at £2.680bn, with like-for-like revenue growth accelerating to 5.0 per cent. Shares leapt on the news. (Release)

The global advertiser saw strong growth in the UK, North America and Latin America was complemented by growth in advertising and media investment management.

Net new business of £2.323bn in the third quarter - a marked improvement on the £884m in the same period last year. As part of the group's strategic focus, it made 29 acquisitions in new markets, 23 of which were in new media and 14 in data investment management.

WPP is on track to meet its full year targets. Fiona Orford-Williams, analyst at Edison Investment Research, said that wins from net new business wins "underpins the outlook into 2014", pointing out that next year should be better for businesses globally. She continues: "the group’s strong cash flow gives plenty of scope to continue with the acquisition programme, as well as reduce overall levels of debt and pay an increasing dividend."

The UK saw like-for-like revenue growth of 8.1 per cent, whilst the US saw 4.6 per cent. Headwinds in western continental Europe meant like-for-like growth was 2.6 per cent, although this was much stronger than the first and second quarter which saw revenue down 0.8 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively. Growth remained good in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Over the first nine months of the year, operating margin rose 0.5 margin points, in line with targets. The company says it intends to grow faster than the industry average without sacrificing its operating margin expansion.