Bei­jing blow to WPP

Daily Express - - CITY& BUSINESS -

AD­VER­TIS­ING gi­ant WPP yes­ter­day pre­dicted a tough 2009 for the in­dus­try af­ter the Olympic Games failed to gen­er­ate the “Bei­jing bounce” it had ex­pected, writes Peter Cun­liffe.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Sir Martin Sor­rell con­ceded the com­pany faced a dif­fi­cult pe­riod as ad­ver­tis­ers cut spending but he scotched sug­ges­tions it faced a drop in rev­enues.

“What­ever the pat­tern, it is not likely our bud­get will re­flect the Ar­maged­don cur­rently pre­dicted from the fall in stock prices,” he added.

WPP, which takes in such fa­mous agen­cies as JWT and Ogilvy & Mather, re­ported un­der­yling sales growth of 3 per cent in the third quar­ter of this year — lower than the 4.3 per cent seen in the first, and be­low the 3.3 per cent the City had ex­pected.

Sor­rell said the com­pany had not seen a spike in sales from the Olympics, though he stressed there had been no down­turn ei­ther.

The fig­ures showed weak­en­ing UK de­mand, with growth at 2.9 per cent down from 4.6 per cent, while North Amer­ica showed no growth. But Asia Pa­cific, Latin Amer­ica, Africa and the Mid­dle East showed strong growth.

The shares rose 31p to 363dp.

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