WPP profits down after ‘brutal’ year

WPP’s profits before tax fell by 16.1 per cent to £812m following what the group describes as a ‘brutal’ 2009.

WPP’s preliminary annual results for 2009 also show that reported revenue is up by 16.1 per cent to £8.684bn, while like-for-like revenue is down by 8.1 per cent.

The Brand Union’s UK office, as well as UK consultancies Addison and The Partners, were singled out for praise after performing well in 2009. WPP says its branding and identity, healthcare and specialist communications groups were least affected by the recession – although global like-for-like revenue growth in this sector was down by 6.2 per cent in 2009.

Headcount continued to be reduced across WPP, with an average of 105 318 people employed by the group in 2009, compared with 112 930 in 2008.

Although WPP described 2009 as ‘a very difficult year’, the group says 2010 should be ‘more stable’. A number of ‘mini-quadrennial events’ which could provide an economic boost were highlighted, including the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the Asian Games in Guangzhou, the Fifa World Cup in South Africa, the World Expo in Shanghai, and the mid-term Congressional elections in the US.

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