WPP posted 2013 revenue of $17.25 billion, up 4.8% with a 12.4% gain in net profit to $1.603 billion, the holding company said Thursday.
Organic revenue growth (which excludes acquisitions, divestitures and currency fluctuations) for the year was up 3.5%, the same rate posted by rival holding company Omnicom Group.
By comparison, other competitors earlier posted the following 2013 organic grates: Publicis Groupe, 2.6%; Interpublic Group, 2.8%; Havas, 1%. MDC Partners led the industry with 8.3% organic growth, albeit from the lowest revenue base.
WPP said that second half organic growth was up 4.6%, and that 2014 was off to a “good start” with organic growth in January of 5.7%.
For 2014, the company said it expected to achieve organic growth of over 3%.
In North America, WPP said it achieved organic growth of 2.9% in 2013, while fourth-quarter growth was 5.9% with strong performances in advertising and media, healthcare and parts of the group’s digital operations, especially AKQA.
In the UK, organic growth for the year was 4.8%. Continental Europe continued to struggle with 2013 growth of just 0.5%. Latin America was up 9% for the year.
The holding company said that 2013, while a record year, was a “difficult” one because client confidence is still low, given “sub-trend” GDP growth.
Other problems remain, including the “fragility of the Eurozone,” and low prospects in the Middle East. Also, there’s been a slowdown in growth in the so-called BRIC markets (China, Brazil, Russia and India). That said, the company added, “we continue to significantly focus our future on the growth of these markets.”
Another issue that continues to loom is the U.S. deficit and debt level, which WPP described as “the elephant in the room.”
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