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Flat Kantar, Strong WPP Again

April 28 2016

WPP has reported first quarter revenue of £3.076bn, up 5.1% in like-for-like terms. Net sales - its preferred measure - rose 3.2%. As in recent quarters however, insight division Kantar performed less well than other units, with like-for-like revenue and net sales figures flat (up 0.5% and down 0.1% respectively).

Who are you calling DIM?Revenue for DIM (Data Investment Management) grew 5% at constant currency due mostly to the acquisition of a controlling interest in IBOPE in Latin America. Regional differences were strong, with Continental Europe, Latin America and Africa & the Middle East showing good growth in like-for-like revenue and net sales, while North America, the UK and Asia Pacific were 'more difficult'.

Reported revenue for DIM was £592m, up from £558m a year earlier and constituting 19.2% of group revenues, down from 20.1% a year ago. Like-for-like revenue growth was strongest in the group's largest division, Advertising and Media Investment Management, where it rose 7.9%. For the group as a whole, there was like-for-like revenue growth in all regions, with the US and UK - contrasting with DIM - performing strongly, as did Western Continental Europe.

The quarter saw impressive business wins - net new business was $1.779bn, compared to $1.0bn a year earlier.

WPP says it has a dual focus in 2016: 'Stronger than competitor revenue and net sales growth' - due to its strength in faster growing geographic markets and digital, as well as acquisitions and a number of other factors; and a 'continued emphasis on balancing revenue and net sales growth with headcount increases and improvement in staff costs/net sales ratio to enhance operating margins'. In the longer term it targets 'above industry revenue and net sales growth' for reasons of geography, and 'functional strength in new media and data investment management, including data analytics', again among other strategic and technological advantages. It is also targeting improvement in its staff costs/net sales ratio of 0.2% per annum or more, and net sales operating margin expansion towards an 'ultimate goal of almost 20%'.

The Group is online at www.wpp.com .

We have probably shown enough pictures of Sir Martin Sorrell over the years - you all know what he looks like - so here instead is the cow from the group's 'WPPED CREAM' page (www.wpp.com/wpp/marketing/wppedcream ). No link is intended, we just thought it was rather a magnificent beast.

All articles 2006-21 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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