WPP shares slide despite 10.2% revenue growth and strong profits

WPP shares slid 7.4% to 826.4p in late morning trading on Friday, despite a 10.2% revenue growth to £6.7 billion in HY1 2022 compared to £6.1 billion the year before.

WPP attributed its strong revenues to high client demand across most sectors and regions, with $3.4 billion in net new billings across the financial term.

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The marketing company reported an 11.4% operating profit climb to £539 million against £484 million, along with a 6.1% pre-tax profit increase to £419 million from £394 million.

The group also noted a £1.6 billion net debt growth to £3.1 billion after £1.1 billion in share buybacks launched since June 2021.

The firm said £637 million in share buybacks had been completed in HY1, with a total of £800 million scheduled for completion in FY 2022.

WPP confirmed a 10.2% diluted EPS rise to 22.7p compared to 20.6p the last year.

“We have enjoyed a strong first half, with broad-based growth across our creative, media and public relations businesses. This reflects the improved competitive position of our creative businesses, with their growing capabilities in commerce, experience and technology, our continued strength in media and the resurgence in demand for strategic communications advice from our public relations agencies,” said WPP CEO Mark Read.

“Our services are business-critical – driving growth, building brands, innovating and helping clients navigate an increasingly complex marketing environment. As major advertisers increasingly look to integrate their marketing investments, we are well positioned to serve the world’s largest companies, demonstrated by our success with Coca-Cola, which we are now onboarding at pace.  The second quarter saw significant assignment wins from Audi, Audible, Danone and Nationwide.”

“Our clients are continuing to invest in WPP’s services, which reflects our attractive industry exposure in technology and healthcare, our broad global footprint, and the importance of what we do for their businesses.  The actions we have taken over the last four years leave WPP much better positioned with a more uncertain economic environment ahead.”

WPP recommended a 20% hike in dividends to 15p per share against 12.5p in HY1 2021.

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