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WPP is engaged in the provision of communications and marketing services worldwide. The Company has four segments: Advertising and Media Investment Management; Consumer Insight; Public Relations & Public Affairs, and Branding & Identity, Healthcare and Specialist Communications.

WPP Q4 profit up 43%, gives upbeat 2012 forecast

1st Mar 2012, 11:44 am by Brad Lemaire
WPP Q4 profit up 43%, gives upbeat 2012 forecast

WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY), the world’s largest advertising group, said Thursday that profits spiked by 43.4 percent last year, while the company provided an upbeat outlook for 2012.

WPP, whose portfolio includes Ogilvy & Mather and Young & Rubicam, said preliminary revenue grew 7.4 percent to 10.02 billion pounds sterling ($16 billion). 

The firm’s profits after tax climbed 43.4 percent to 840 million pounds sterling ($1.3 billion), or 67.7 pence a share, compared
with a year-ago profit of 586 million pounds sterling ($780.9 million) or 56.7 pence a share.

However pre-tax profits rallied 18.5 percent to a record 1 billion pounds last year, boosted by particularly strong performances in Asia and Latin America.

The news sent WPP’s share price up nearly three percent to $66.07 per American Depository Receipt in trade on the Nasdaq.

WPP's operating margin rose to 14.3 percent in 2011 from 13.2 percent last year, the company said.

The company said it won net new business billings of 3.23 billion pounds sterling ($5.16 billion) in 2011, up from 3 billion pounds sterling ($4 billion) a year earlier.

Revenues by region, North America posted sales were up by 6.3 percent to 3.38 billion pounds sterling, with revenue from the U.K. up more than nine percent to 1.18 billion pounds sterling.

The Western Continental Europe region rose six percent to 2.5 billion pounds sterling from 2.35 billion pounds sterling one year ago. 

Sales in Latin America showed the strongest growth out of its sub-regions with revenues up 14 percent, the company said.

WPP plans to spend $2 billion on Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) ads this year, up from $1.6 billion in 2011, chief executive Martin Sorrell said.

The Facebook and Twitter social networking services will also get a larger amount from the agency, he said.

For 2012, the advertising giant predicts like-for-like gross margin growth of four percent, due to the Olympics and Paralympics in London, UEFA football events, and the U.S. Presidential election in November.

For 2012, the company raised its full year dividend by 38 percent to 24.6 pence a share, topping the average analysts’ estimates. The dividend will be paid to shareholders on July 9.

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