WPP has recorded 1996 results to match the City’s optimistic forecasts for the group, with the specialist communications division, which includes design, achieving the highest percentage revenue growth.
A 35 per cent rise in profit before tax – up to 153.3m from 1995’s 113.7m – was generated from a 7.1bn turnover. The group’s once debilitating debt is down 69m to 145m.
The specialist communication division’s Coley Porter Bell, Sampson Tyrrell Enterprise, BDG/McColl, Oakley Young, and US groups AG Enterprise, SBG Partners and Walker Group/CNI are praised for their performances. The division saw revenues rise by almost 11 per cent and gross margins increase by 8 per cent as operating costs only rose 4 per cent.
The City pages’ headlines were grabbed by WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell stepping closer to his 25m bonus, even with a 15p drop in the share price on the day of the results due to profit-taking.
But Sorrell’s results statement revealed how WPP has implemented a share-ownership programme for all its staff with more than two years service.