WPP on target with forecasted growth

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.

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