LONDON—Communications holidng company WPP Group reported an 18 percent rise in first quarter revenue in constant currency terms, with public relations revenues—the company is parent to Burson-Marsteller, Cohn & Wolfe, GCI Group, Hill & Knowlton and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide—up 14 percent. On a like-for-like basis, excluding acquisitions and currency, revenues were up almost 5 percent.
The numbers maintain an improvement in the organic growth rate of the last 18 months, which began with the last two quarters of 2004 and continued through 2005.
The Middle East region has become the fastest growing region for WPP, while Asia Pacific, India and China continued their rapid growth, while the U.K. remains the slowest growth market. “The Asia Pacific remains strong, with India and China continuing the rapid growth seen in 2005, with first quarter like-for-like revenues up sharply again. Western continental Europe, although still relatively more difficult, has seen some improvement, particularly in Germany,” the agency said.
By services sector, branding and identity, healthcare and specialist communications (including direct, internet and interactive) were the fastest growing, up almost 23 percent; advertising and media investment management was up over 19 percent, with public relations and public affairs up over 14 percent and information, insight and consultancy up almost 10 percent.