Group financial performance
Billings were up 5.1% at £31.7 billion, around $63.5 billion.
Reportable revenue was up 4.7% to £6.186 billion. Revenue, including 100% of associates, is estimated to total over £7.3 billion.
Headline earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation (Headline EBITDA) rose 7.0% to £1.072 billion and 9.2% in constant currencies. Headline profit before interest and tax was up 8.0% to £928 million from £859 million and up 10.1% in constant currencies. Reported profit before interest and tax was up 8.1% to £846 million from £783 million and up 10.0% in constant currencies. Headline profit before tax was up 6.7% to £817 million from £766 million and up 8.8% in constant currencies.
Net finance costs (excluding the revaluation of financial instruments) were £110.7 million up from £92.7 million last year, largely reflecting higher interest rates, the impact of the cash cost of the acquisition of 24/7 Real Media Inc. in July 2007, partly offset by improved liquidity as a result of a reduction in average working capital.
Reported profit before tax rose by 5.5% to £719 million, and by 7.4% in constant currencies.
The Group's tax rate on headline profits was 25.0%, a reduction of one percentage point over 2006. This reflects the continuing positive impact of the Group's tax planning initiatives.
Diluted headline earnings per share were up 9.5% at 46.0p. In constant currency, earnings per share on the same basis were up 13.6%. Diluted earnings per share rose by 8.0% to 38.0p and by 12.0% in constant currencies.
The Board recommends an increase of 20% in the final dividend to 9.13p per share, making a total of 13.45p per share for 2007, a 20% increase over 2006. The record date for this dividend is 6 June 2008, payable on 7 July 2008. The dividend paid in 2007 was over four times covered by headline earnings.