Holmes Report 31 Oct 2016 // 11:25AM GMT
LONDON — WPP has reported like-for-like revenue growth of 5% from its PR and public affairs firms, which include Burson-Marsteller, H+K Strategies and Ogilvy PR.
The result, based on reported PR growth of 25.6%, means that the division has grown 3.5% on a like-for-like basis for the year-to-date. The quarterly performance makes PR and PA the second-best performing sector at the holding group, behind advertising and media investment (+5.5%).
In his quarterly results announcement, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said that "all regions showed positive net sales growth in quarter three" for PR and PA, "with particularly strong growth in the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Latin America and Africa."
Sorrell also singled out a handful of firms for special mention: "Quarter three and the first nine months both saw especially strong growth globally at Cohn & Wolfe, in social media content development in the United States at SJR, and at a newly integrated multi-national offering at Finsbury and Hering Schuppener, particularly in the US, the UK and Germany."
"Cohn & Wolfe had another outstanding quarter of double-digit performance and will deliver our third consecutive year of strong, double-digit growth," added Cohn & Wolfe global CEO Donna Imperato. "Fueled by continued momentum in the integrated marketing space, including increased demand for digital content and creative technology solutions, 2017 will be another great year for the agency."
Overall PR and PA revenue reached £287m for the quarter, accounting for 8% of total group revenue. For the year-to-date, PR and PA firms have reported revenue of £786m.
However, Sorrell sounded a note of caution of operating profitability at the PR and PA segment. "Functionally, data investment management and public relations and public affairs, healthcare and the group’s specialist communications businesses are forecast to be slower than the overall growth rate," he said. WPP is in line to grow its operating margin by 0.3 points in 2016.
Overall group revenues grew by 3.2% on a like-for-like basis in 3Q 2016, with year-to-date top line growth and operating performance exceeding 2015 results.