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TOP NEWS: WPP holds guidance despite ongoing weakness in Asia and tech

25th Apr 2024 10:00

(Alliance News) - WPP PLC on Thursday reported a fall in first quarter sales as progress in Europe was offset by declines in Asia.

Shares in WPP fell 1.2% to 794.40 pence in London on Thursday.

First quarter revenue fell 1.4% to GBP3.41 billion from GBP3.46 billion. On a comparable basis sales rose 2.1%.

Revenue less pass-through costs fell 5.0% to GBP2.69 billion from GBP2.83 billion or by 1.6% on a comparable basis.

WPP said growth in the UK and Western Continental Europe had been offset by declines in North America and Asia Pacific, which saw strong growth in India offset by a decline in China.

Global Integrated Agencies revenue less pass-through costs declined 0.7%, with 2.4% growth in GroupM offset by a 3.3% decline at integrated creative agencies with the loss of assignments at a healthcare client and reduced spend at technology companies, WPP commented.

WPP highlighted strong progress on the strategic initiatives laid out at its Capital Markets Day in January.

Burson, GroupM and VML are on track to deliver targeted in-year savings and well-placed to benefit from a strong pipeline, the firm said.

WPP also noted continued strategic progress on artificial intelligence initiatives.

Full-year guidance was reiterated. WPP expects like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs growth of zero to 1%, with a headline operating margin improvement of 20 to 40 basis points.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Read said: "We remain on track to return to growth in the balance of the year, supported by an encouraging new business pipeline and the strength of our business creatively and in media, both powered by new AI capabilities, while our simpler structure will drive organisational flexibility and stronger cash conversion."

By Jeremy Cutler, Alliance News reporter

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