Brexit won't hinder growth says advertising giant WPP

Advertising giant WPP said Brexit will not hinder its growth strategy after reporting a 15.8 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to £690m in the first half of the year.

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP

However, the company was stung by a £122m writedown linked to its investment in analytics firm comScore. That compared with “exceptional gains” of £203m during the same period last year, the group said.

Like-for-like net sales grew 3.8 per cent for the six months to June 30.

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Headline pre-tax profit beat expectations, with analysts having forecast a 13 per cent hike in pre-tax earnings to £755m and a 3.2 per cent rise in like-for-like net sales.

The company said the EU referendum vote had not hindered its growth strategy.

“Particularly, following Brexit, accelerated implementation of growth strategy continues, with revenue ratios for fast growth markets and new media raised from 35-40 per cent to 40-45 per cent over next four to five years,” the report stated.

However, WPP’s net assets took a hit from the weaker pound, which plunged in the wake of Brexit.

As a result, return on equity was down to 15.5 per cent from 15.9 per cent in the 12 months to June 30, compared with the same period last year.

WPP said it expects weaker figures for the remaining six months of the year, but suggested this had more to do with strong comparative performance in 2015.