WPP’s first half profit rises

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WPP, the world’s largest advertising group, has reported a 1.5 per cent rise in first-half headline pretax profit to £532m.

The figures were slightly ahead of forecasts.

The group, which was created by Martin Sorrell and employs almost 175,000 people in 3,000 offices around the world, said its net sales margin for the first half was 13.0 per cent. That was in line with its full-year target.

WPP, which has agencies including Ogilvy Group and JWT, lowered its margin guidance for the 2014 year in February due to competition in the industry. It has, however, gained extra work in recent months from rivals Omnicom and Publicis, who were engaged in merger talks which broke down.

WPP announced a 2.7 per cent increase in reported revenue to £5.47bn.