WPP reports surge in pre-tax profits but warns of ‘misplaced’ optimism

The world’s largest advertising holding company, has reported pre-tax profit of £709.7 million in the first half of 2014, up 44.5 per cent year-on-year. Revenue was reported at £5.84 billion, up 6.4 per cent in constant currency, in the six months to 30 June 2015.

In its 2015 interim statement, WPP said: “To survive in the advertising and marketing services sector, you have to remain positive, indeed optimistic, seeing the glass half-full and industry and company reports generally continue, understandably, to reflect that attitude. However, general client behaviour does not reflect that state of mind as tepid GDP growth, low or no inflation and consequent lack of pricing power encourage a focus on cutting costs to reach profit targets, rather than revenue growth. In addition, there seem to be little, if any, reason for an upside breakout from the current levels of real or nominal GDP growth, which previously remained stuck at around 3 per cent and 5 per cent respectively and below the pre-Lehman trend rate, which by definition was unsustainable.”

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