WPP Posts 15 Percent Profit Increase

NEW YORK WPP Group today reported a 2004 profit of slightly more than $1 billion, a 15 percent improvement on its performance in 2003. The gain was 23 percent when calculated on a constant currency basis.

The London-based holding company, parent to shops such as Ogilvy & Mather and Young & Rubicam, said its full-year revenue rose nearly 5 percent to about $8.2 billion. In constant currency terms, the gain was 11 percent, and 4 percent on a like-for-like basis.

WPP’s operating margins were 14.1 percent in 2004 compared to 13 percent a year earlier. Margins could improve to approximately 14.3 percent this year and 14.8 next year, WPP said.

“2004 was a very good year. 2005 will mark WPP’s 20th birthday, and it should be an even better one,” the company said in a statement.

Overall new billings last year were $6.8 billion, with key wins including Nestle, Samsung and Unilever.

WPP rival Omnicom on Tuesday said its full-year global net income increased 15 percent to $724 million. Global revenue for 2004 was $9.75 billion, up 13 percent from 2003.

WPP’s $1.3 billion acquisition of Grey Global Group is expected to close on March 7, four days after shareholders vote on the proposal [Adweek Online, Feb. 18].

—Adweek staff report