UK — WPP reported a 12% increase in pre-tax profits and an increase in like-for-like net sales of 2.3% to £5.04bn for the second quarter of 2015, although this was slightly down on the 2.5% growth it reported in Q1.
Amid the turmoil of the Chinese stock market crash, WPP’s CEO Sir Martin Sorrell (pictured), said he remained bullish about the market in China although he was concerned about the impact on global growth of the end of the unrealistic boom in Chinese shares.
WPP’s performance in the emerging Bric markets – Brazil, Russia, India and China – slowed in this quarter as Russia and China in particular came under pressure. In the US like-for-like revenue increased 7.3%, in the UK it increased 4.6% while it described western continental Europe’s situation as “patchy from a macro-economic point of view”. In Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa & the Middle East and Central & Eastern Europe, both revenue and net sales growth slipped back in the second quarter, with like-for-like growth of 1.1% and 0.7%, compared with 6.8% and 4.0% respectively in the first quarter.
Reported billings increased 5% in H1 to £23.2bn, with about £1.3bn coming from new business.
In terms of its businesses, data investment management revenue grew 3.5% in Q2, compared with 0.3% in Q1, partly driven by the acquisition of a controlling interest in IBOPE in Latin America in the second quarter.
At the group’s branding and identity, healthcare and specialist communications businesses (including direct, digital and interactive) constant currency net sales grew 4.8%, with like-for-like growth of 3.2%, up on the the first quarter net sales growth of 1.6%.
WPP’s strategic focus in new markets has been one of acquisition and it completed 25 transactions in the first half of the year, with six in new markets.