World's biggest advertising group WPP reports record £1.5 billion annual profit

Martin SorrellREUTERS/Brendan McDermidWPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell.

WPP, the world’s largest advertising agency holding group, reported a record £1.5 billion annual profit in 2014 and has seen a strong start to the start of the current trading year.

For the full year, WPP grew pre-tax profits by 12% to £1.45 billion on reported revenue of £11.53 billion, which was up 4.6% year over year.

The agency group, which owns agencies such as Ogilvy, J. Walter Thompson, and Milward Brown, said 2015 was off to a flying start. Like-for-like revenue in January rose 6.7%, with like-for-lik e net sales up 3.9%, which WPP says was stronger than the final quarter of 2014 and 2014 itself.

WPP says it expects to grow net sales by 3% in 2015 and is looking at a headline operating margin target of 0.3 margin points, excluding the impact of currency.

Tbe company has outlined a “dual focus” for 2015: 1) Maintaining the parent company’s creative position, new business, and hunting for “horizontally and strategically targeted acquisitions.” 2) Placing a continued emphasis on balancing revenue growth with headcount increases and improving the staff costs to net sales ratio in order to enhance operating margins.

This story is updating, more to follow.

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