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WPP reaffirms full-year revenue guidance; debt nears GBP4 billion

27th Apr 2023 11:38

(Alliance News) - WPP PLC on Thursday said it remains on track to deliver its 2023 revenue guidance, but net debt grew by GBP1.4 billion in the first three months of the year.

Shares in the London-based advertising and corporate communications firm were down 3.0% to 928.40 pence each in London on Thursday morning.

WPP said that it has seen a positive start to the year, in line with its expectations.

Revenue in the first quarter of 2023 rose by 12% year-on-year to GBP3.46 billion. Revenue less pass-through costs rose by 9.9% to GBP2.83 billion from GBP2.57 billion.

WPP said the improved performance was broad-based across all our business lines and regions. Further, it said that it has won net new business of about USD1.5 billion in the quarter, including from Adobe Inc, Ford Motor Co and Mondelez International Inc.

Less positively, net debt at March 31 stood at GBP3.9 billion, compared to GBP2.5 billion on December 31. WPP said the increase was driven largely by expected seasonal net working capital movements and the three M&A transactions in the quarter.

Looking ahead, WPP said that it is on track to deliver its full-year guidance. It expects like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs growth of between 3% and 5% in 2023.

In 2022, WPP recorded revenue of GBP14.43 billion, up 13% from GBP12.80 billion in 2021. Revenue less pass-through costs rose 14% to GBP11.80 billion in 2022, suggesting up to GBP12.39 billion in revenue in 2023.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Read said: "We are continuing to strengthen the company - winning new clients, hiring new creative leadership, investing in our technology platforms and data, making three acquisitions in the growth areas of healthcare and influencer marketing and bringing in a minority partner to FGS Global. Our focus on AI over the last five years is paying off, with many examples of our work with clients, using the main AI platforms, in-market today."

By Sophie Rose, Alliance News reporter

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