WPP reported revenues for the first quarter of more than $3.9 billion, up 4%.
Organic revenue growth (excluding the impact of currency fluctuations and acquisitions) was 2.1%, in line with competing holding companies. By comparison, Omnicom Group, Interpublic Group and Publicis Groupe reported organic growth for the period of 2.9%, 2.3% and 1.3%, respectively.
WPP reiterated guidance that it expects to achieve around 3% organic revenue growth for the full year, while profits before taxes and interest are expected to grow 10% to 15%.
The company said its strongest-performing sector was advertising and media investment management, which posted 3.9% organic growth for the quarter. Within that segment GroupM was cited as being “consistently strong” with organic growth of 7.4%. Among creative shops, WPP said Y&R and Grey “in particular had a strong start to the year.”
The holding company said it had net new business of just over $1.5 billion, compared to $1.8+ billion in the first quarter of 2012. GroupM agencies generated $743 million in new business, while JWT, Y&R, Ogilvy & Mather, Grey and United combined for $449 million in new wins.
Wins included Lionsgate, Simmons Bedding and Coca-Cola.
By region, the company’s strongest organic growth was seen in the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa, the Mideast and Central and Eastern Europe, which had combined growth of 7.8%. North America showed a decline of 1%, while Western Europe was down 0.8%.
Looking ahead, WPP said that macroeconomic concerns “continue to make clients reluctant to take further risks, despite stronger balance sheets.”
While 2013 results are expected to be similar to 2012, 2014 looks to be "a better prospect” with the World Cup in Brazil, Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the midterm elections in the U.S.