First Quarter 2019 Trading Update

26 Apr 2019

Guidance for 2019 unchanged

Mark Read, Chief Executive Officer, WPP:

“We continue to make good progress in implementing our three-year strategy to return WPP to sustainable growth.

“As anticipated, our first quarter trading update reflects the impact of certain significant client losses in 2018, in particular in the United States. Although we face a challenging year, especially in the first half, I am encouraged by how well our people, agencies and clients are responding to our new strategic direction. Our expectations for the full year are unchanged.

“Our newly formed agencies are showing initial signs of success in new business pitches. The most recent merger, Wunderman Thompson, has followed VMLY&R’s strong start by winning Duracell’s international creative account. BCW has brought in nearly $70 million in new business in its first year.

“In March, five of our companies were recognised in Gartner’s influential Magic Quadrant study of the world’s leading and most forward-looking agencies, while WPP topped the WARC Effectiveness and Media 100 lists. This month, the Effie Index ranked us as the world’s most effective communications company for the eighth successive year, demonstrating our enduring ability to deliver tangible business results for our clients.

“LinkedIn named WPP as one of the top 50 companies people want to work for in the United States, and we continue to attract top talent to the business. A key priority in 2019 is to invest further in senior creative talent in the United States.

“As we have said before, it will take time to address the company’s legacy issues, but we are committed to taking all the actions necessary to position WPP for future success.”

  • Reported revenue up 0.9%
  • Like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs -2.8%, reflecting anticipated headwinds following client assignment losses in 2018
  • Decrease in average net debt from £4.875 billion in the first quarter of 2018 to £4.163 billion in the first quarter of 2019 (at 2019 exchange rates). Improvement of £712 million follows disposal of non-core associates and subsidiaries
  • Continued progress in implementing three-year turnaround plan
  • Financial guidance for 2019 unchanged

WPP 2019 First Quarter Trading update PDF 293.3KB

For further information:
Mark Read }
Andrew Scott }
Paul Richardson }
Lisa Hau } +44 20 7282 4600
Chris Wade }

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

Richard Oldworth,
Buchanan Communications +44 20 7466 5000 +44 7710 130 634