WPP reported revenue growth of 6.8 per cent, with like-for-like growth of 4.9 per cent, 1.5 per cent growth from acquisitions and 0.4 per cent from currency, reflecting the weakness of sterling against the dollar, partly offset by the strength of sterling, primarily against the euro.
The holding company reported billings increased by 5.0 per cent to £23.156bn, also up 5.0 per cent in constant currency.
Net sales were up 5.2 per cent in sterling (down 4.0 per cent in dollars, up 18.1 per cent in euros and up 12.9 per cent in yen), with like-for-like growth of 2.3 per cent, 2.4 per cent growth from acquisitions and 0.5 per cent from currency.
The company reported constant currency revenue growth in all regions and business sectors, characterised by particularly strong growth geographically in North America, the United Kingdom and Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa & the Middle East and Central & Eastern Europe, and functionally in advertising and media investment management and sub-sectors direct, digital and interactive and specialist communications.
WPP had a strong July with like-for-like revenue growth of 5.0 per cent and net sales growth, up 3.7 per cent like-for-like, indicating a likely stronger third quarter, as budgeted and forecast. All regions and sectors (except data investment management) were positive, and showed a similar relative pattern to the first half, with advertising, media investment management, public relations and public affairs and specialist communications (including direct, digital and interactive) up strongly. Cumulative like-for-like revenue growth for the first seven months of 2015 is 4.9 per cent and net sales growth 2.5 per cent.
There was a slight increase in like-for-like revenue growth from the first quarter revised forecast, as the scale of digital media purchases increased, with revenue and net sales growth similar at over 3 per cent and a stronger second half, partly reflecting easier comparatives in the second half of 2014. Headline net sales operating margin target improvement, as previously, of 0.3 margin points in constant currency.
Above industry revenue and net sales growth due to geographically superior position in new markets and functional strength in new media, in data investment management, including data analytics and the application of new technology, creativity, effectiveness and horizontality; improvement in staff costs to net sales ratio of 0.2 or more depending on net sales growth; net sales operating margin expansion of 0.3 margin points or more; and headline diluted EPS growth of 10 per cent to 15 per cent p.a. from revenue and net sales growth, margin expansion, strategically targeted small and medium-sized acquisitions and share buy-backs