2022 Preliminary Results

23 Feb 2023

Strong performance driven by growth across all key WPP agencies. Headline fully diluted EPS growth of over 25%. Expect LFL top-line growth of 3-5% and further progress on operating margin to around 15% in 2023

Key figures

£ million
+/(-)% reported1
+/(-)% LFL2 2021
Revenue 14,429
Revenue less pass-through costs 11,799
13.5 6.9 10,397
Operating profit
Profit before tax
1,160 22.0
- 951
Diluted EPS (p)
Dividends per share (p)
26.3 -
Operating profit
10.0 1,494
Operating profit margin
0.4pt* 14.4%
Profit before tax
17.3 -
Diluted EPS (p)
25.5 -

* Margin points

Full year and Q4 financial highlights

  • FY reported revenue +12.7%, LFL revenue +6.7%
  • FY LFL revenue less pass-through costs +6.9%; with good performance in Q4 +6.4%
  • Q4 LFL revenue less pass-through costs by major market: US +3.5%, UK +12.0%, Germany +4.9%, China -8.4%, India +8.5%
  • Three-year FY LFL revenue less pass-through costs +10.0%; Q4 +10.2%
  • FY headline operating margin 14.8%, up 0.4 points LFL with strong top-line growth and efficiency savings supporting investment and margin expansion
  • Reported diluted EPS 61.2 pence; headline diluted EPS up 25.5% to 98.5 pence
  • Adjusted net debt at 31 December 2022 £2.5 billion (2021: £0.9 billion) after investments and over £1.1 billion of cash returned to shareholders. Average adjusted net debt to EBITDA ratio of 1.46x, slightly below the 1.5-1.75 target range
  • Trade working capital adverse movement of £226 million4 at year-end driven by mix and timing factors. Average trade working capital across 2022 was flat year-on-year
  • Final dividend of 24.4 pence proposed, up 30.5%, for a proposed total dividend for 2022 of 39.4 pence, in line with our policy of approximately 40% of headline diluted EPS

Strategic progress, shareholder returns and 2023 guidance

  • Strong performance across major WPP agencies: continued strength in GroupM 2022 with FY LFL revenue less pass-through costs growth of +9.1%, with other Global Integrated Agencies delivering 5.0% LFL growth; Public Relations 8.2% and Specialist Agencies 5.6%
  • Breadth and depth of capabilities resonating well with clients: $5.9 billion5 of net new business won, including Audible, Danone, SC Johnson and Verizon
  • Recognised for creativity: most awarded company at the 2022 Cannes Lions Festival for the second year running
  • Transformation programme gross annual savings of around £375 million against a 2019 base are ahead of the planned £300 million, with savings in property, procurement and ways of working, enabling additional investment in talent for growth areas. On track to reach target of £600 million by 2025
  • Over £1.1 billion returned to shareholders in 2022 comprising £807 million of share buybacks completed and £365 million of dividends paid
  • 2023 guidance: LFL revenue less pass-through costs growth of 3 to 5%, and further margin improvement reflecting continued operating leverage, to deliver a headline margin of around 15% (excluding the impact of FX)

Mark Read, Chief Executive Officer, WPP:

“WPP delivered strong growth in 2022, despite the macro challenges, reflecting the priority placed by our clients on investing in communications, customer experience, commerce, data and technology.

“The competitiveness of our offer drove net new business of $5.9 billion in 2022, including new assignments with Audible, SC Johnson, and Verizon among many others and the quality of our work was recognised at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity where WPP was named Creative Company of the Year.

“Our transformation is now delivering measurable results. Over the past three years, WPP has grown like-for-like net sales at a compound average rate of 3.2%, including 3.3% in North America, while improving our headline operating profit margin by 40 basis points. Our adjusted net debt has declined from over £4 billion at the end of 2018 to £2.5 billion, while over £3.4 billion has been returned to shareholders via share buybacks and dividends.

“We enter 2023 in a strong financial position with good momentum from new business and the many opportunities ahead of us. While there will no doubt be challenges, the continued need for major companies to build brands, sell products, reinvent and transform their business, understand their data, invest in technology and exploit the potential of AI remains, as does their need for modern partners who can help them navigate this new world.”

WPP 2022 Preliminary Results press release PDF 1.0 MB


  1. Percentage change in reported sterling.
  2. Like-for-like. LFL comparisons are calculated as follows: current year, constant currency actual results (which include acquisitions from the relevant date of completion) are compared with prior year, constant currency actual results, adjusted to reflect the results of acquisitions and disposals.
  3. In this press release not all of the figures and ratios used are readily available from the unaudited preliminary results included in Appendix 1. Management believes these non-GAAP measures, including constant currency and like-for-like growth, revenue less pass-through costs and headline profit measures, are both useful and necessary to better understand the Group’s results. Where required, details of how these have been arrived at are shown in Appendix 2.
  4. Includes a benefit of £102 million due to more favourable FX rates at year end compared to the prior year.
  5. Billings, as defined in the glossary.


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