WPP unveils record financial performance

Evidence that global marketing services are continuing to perform robustly comes from WPP Group, which is expected to release record annual figures this week.

According to informed City sources, pre-tax profits are ahead of expectations at about 213m, marking a 20 per cent increase over last year’s 177.4m.

Turnover rose ten per cent to 8bn and revenue by a similar percentage to nearly 2bn over the year, which ended December 31.

Overall operating margins, regarded by the City as an important index of financial efficiency, are thought to have climbed one per cent – for the sixth year running – to a shade under 13 per cent.

WPP is expected to break out its internet and internet-related earnings for the first time. 1998 is the first year when WPP’s non-media advertising activities are expected to exceed 50 per cent of total revenue.

By discipline, information and consultancy is expected to show the strongest growth, at over 25 per cent, with public relations and public affairs a strong second.

Advertising and related media services, still the mainstay of WPP, have seen growth of over eight per cent.

WPP Group has increased its stake in media services specialist Tempus to slightly over 18 per cent.

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