Interim Results 2018

4 Sep 2018

New CEO appointed; strategy update by year end

Mark Read, Chief Executive Officer, WPP:

“The second quarter of 2018 was WPP’s first quarter of like-for-like growth since Q1 2017, and the company has performed strongly in terms of winning and retaining business over the period. 

“At our first quarter trading update we said there was no standing still, and in the last few months we have made progress in a number of important areas. 

“We have focused our efforts on providing more effectively integrated solutions to clients and, in competitive pitches, we have won or grown business with clients including Adidas, Hilton, Mars, Mondelez, Shell and T-Mobile.

“We have looked at our offering and begun to focus our portfolio through 15 disposals and divestments, including Globant and AppNexus, generating cash proceeds of £676 million so far this year, which will also strengthen our balance sheet and improve our average net debt to EBITDA ratio.

“And we have accelerated initiatives that will simplify our organisation, making it easier for us to manage and clients to access, with, for example, co-locations opened or announced in New York, Kuala Lumpur, Prague and Toronto. 

“The mix of performance by geography and function and a decision to invest in the growing areas of our business resulted in a slightly lower headline PBIT margin.

“As Chief Executive, my focus will be on invigorating our company and returning the business to stronger, sustainable growth. Our review of strategy is underway, addressing our structure, our underperforming operations, particularly in the United States, and how we position the company for the future. We will provide an update by the year end.”

  • Reported revenue down 2.1% at £7.493 billion, impacted by currency headwinds of 5.0%. Constant currency revenue up 2.9%, like-for-like revenue up 1.6% (Q2 up 2.4%)
  • Constant currency revenue less pass-through costs up 1.4%, like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs up 0.3% (Q2 up 0.7%)
  • Headline profit before interest and tax £821 million down 7.0%, down 2.3% in constant currency
  • Headline PBIT margin 13.3% down 0.5 margin points reportable and constant currency, down 0.4 margin points like-for-like
  • Headline profit before tax £735 million down 7.4%, down 2.5% in constant currency 
  • Profit before tax £846 million up 8.6%, up 14.2% in constant currency primarily reflecting net exceptional gains   
  • Profit after tax £705 million up 11.3%, up 16.8% in constant currency 
  • Headline diluted earnings per share 42.6p down 6.2%, down 1.3% in constant currency 
  • Diluted earnings per share 53.4p up 14.6%, up 20.3% in constant currency
  • Dividends per share 22.7p flat with 2017 
  • Share buy-backs of £201 million, equivalent to 1.3% of the issued share capital 

WPP Interim Results 2018 PDF 1.3MB 

For further information:
Mark Read }
Andrew Scott }
Paul Richardson } +44 20 7408 2204
Lisa Hau }
Chris Wade }

Kevin McCormack }
Fran Butera } +1 212 632 2235
Juliana Yeh +852 2280 3790

Richard Oldworth,
Buchanan Communications    +44 207 466 5000  +44 7710 130 634