WPP design groups see revenue surge

WPP Group’s specialist communications arm – which includes design consultancies Coley Porter Bell, Sampson Tyrrell and BDG/McColl – was the group’s best performing service sector, reporting an 11 per cent surge in revenue in WPP’s latest results.

The group last week posted a 9.5 per cent increase in third quarter revenues, and forecast a “year of record trading” for 1995, its tenth anniversary year.

During the first nine months of 1995, revenues have risen by 7.9 per cent at 1.12bn compared with 1.03bn for the same period last year. Improved profitability and cash flow have helped reduce net debt, averaging at 233m in the first nine months against 291m for the same period last year.

This is the first time WPP has issued a third quarter trading statement, triggered by the need to keep US shareholders and institutions informed and fall into line with its main US competitors – around 40 per cent of the group’s revenues are generated in North America.

The performance puts WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell on course to collect a bonus of up to 25m in four years’ time.

Meanwhile, the once high-flying Cordiant group is awaiting approval from its bankers of a financial restructuring programme, which could include an imminent rights issue.

The group, parent of Siegel & Gale and Saatchi and Saatchi Design, posted a pre-tax loss of 29.6m for six months to end June 1995, and is currently suffering from a plunging share price. A Cordiant spokesman says: “Cordiant is a healthy company and the restructuring is being considered as a viable business option to knock out expensive debt.”

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