Africa Strong, Middle East Not So Much In WPP’s Q1 2016

Martin SorrellIn the first quarter of 2016, WPP’s reported revenue was up 10.5 percent at USD 4.49 billion. On a like-for-like basis, excluding the impact of acquisitions and currency fluctuations, revenue was up 5.1 percent.

The pattern of net sales growth, a term that WPP uses to gauge its growth, in 2016 has started similarly to the final quarter of 2015, with both constant currency and like-for-like growth showing continued improvement across all geographies and sectors, except data investment management. Advertising and media investment management and branding & identity, healthcare and specialist communications, were the strongest sectors in this quarter, as they were in the first quarter of 2015. Public Relations & Public Affairs was slower than the final quarter of 2015, which was the strongest sector in the last year quarter.

Room For Improvement
In Africa & the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Central & Eastern Europe, constant currency revenue was up 9 percent, similar to the final two quarters of last year, although not quite as strong as the first quarter. Like-for-like revenue was up 3.4 percent, weaker than the final quarter.

Africa also showed strong growth, with like-for-like net sales up well over 4 percent, with the Middle East and Central & Eastern Europe both up less than the Group average, as Dubai and Russia were weaker.

In the first quarter of 2016, 27.3 percent of the Group’s reported net sales came from Africa and the Middle East Asia Pacific, Latin America and Central & Eastern Europe. This is a drop from first quarter of 2015 which was 28.6 percent.

Strong growth was seen in Data Investment Management and Public Relations and Public Affairs in Africa & the Middle East.

On the whole, the company stated that it is worried about the political condition in Middle East which includes migrant crisis and continued risk of terrorism. However the company also believes that there are opportunities in Egypt and maybe Iran as well.

Regional Overview
North America, with like-for-like revenue 6.9 percent up, was the strongest performing region, and had significantly stronger results than the first quarter of last year. The group’s media investment management and direct, digital and interactive performed particularly well in this region.

The United Kingdom, with constant currency revenue growth of 8.2 percent, was weaker than the first quarter of 2015. The Group’s advertising and media investment management, public relations and public affairs, branding & identity and specialist communications businesses performed strongly, partly offset by a little pressure on data investment management, healthcare and direct, digital and interactive.

In Western Continental Europe, constant currency revenue was up 9.2 percent, stronger than the first quarter of 2015. All markets, except Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Greece grew, with Germany, Scandinavia, Turkey and Ireland growing well above the average.

Latin America was slower in the first quarter than the final quarter of 2015, although like-for-like net sales grew almost 4 percent, with all markets except, Brazil, Chile and Peru growing strongly.

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