SIR MARTIN Sorrell said yesterday that the prospect of a Brexit was now of greater concern than a Grexit, as WPP’s first quarter results showed revenues and sales were up.
Total revenues at the world’s largest advertising firm rose 8.3 per cent to £2.8bn in the three months ending 31 March on the back of a six per cent rise in net sales.
Emerging markets were the main engine of sales growth during the quarter, with like-for-like net sales up four per cent in the region. Growth in Asia was dominated by China and India, where sales rose nine and 10 per cent respectively.
However it is in the UK market, where sales grew by a respectable 3.6 per cent during the quarter, that future problems could arise.
“Of the couple of things that worry me the most, one is a Brexit,” said Sorrell, who has strong links with the pro-EU lobby group Business for New Europe, adding that whatever the merits may be in the long term, the short-term disruption poses a huge risk.
While Sorrell’s views on an EU referendum are well known, he is more sanguine about a Grexit, the prospect of which appears to have been factored into future considerations.
“I don’t think people are worried about a Grexit too much” he said, placing emphasis on the “too much.”
Sorrell is less relaxed about future tightening by the Federal Reserve.
“I worry about how bond markets and equity markets will react” he said, describing the previous taper tantrums as particularly “vicious”.
WPP said 2015 was shaping up to be another “demanding” year, but the group remained well positioned to deliver its long-term targets.