WPP returned to 2019 revenue levels in the second quarter, a year ahead of its plan, the company reported today. The results were another strong signal that Adland is well on the road to recovery from the pandemic-induced revenue shortfalls experienced in 2020 and the early months of 2021.
Most of the major holding companies have now reported double-digit growth rebounds for the second quarter including Interpublic, Omnicom and Publicis Groupe.
WPP Net revenue for the period was £2.6 billion with organic growth (excludes currency and M&A impact) of 19.3%.
The company said it now expects full-year organic growth of between 9% and 10% for 2021.
For the first half of the year, net revenue was £4.9 billion with organic growth of 11%.
Company CEO Mark Read credited the positive results primarily to clients once again making bigger investments in marketing, “particularly in digital media, ecommerce and marketing technology.”
“We’ve also made very good strategic progress,” Read asserted. “Our recognition as the most awarded company at the 2021 Cannes Lions Festival reflects our investment in creative talent and the strength of our creative work over the past two years. Our focus on data, commerce and technology, through strategic acquisitions, organic investments and the launch of [data consultancy] Choreograph, has supported a strong new business performance.”
The company reported an estimated $2.9 billion (billings) in new business during the first half including assignments from AstraZeneca, Bumble, JP Morgan Chase and Pernod Ricard.
Organic growth in the U.S. was up 12.6% and in the UK up 31.8% with both countries returning to 2019 revenue levels.
The Group’s global integrated agencies division posted organic growth of 10.9% in the first half and 19.2% in the second quarter. GroupM, representing 36% of the division’s growth was the strongest performer, up 17% in the half and up 29% in the second quarter. VMLY&R also recorded double-digit growth for the first half. Wunderman Thompson, Ogilvy and AKQA Group all recovered strongly in the second quarter, according to the company.
WPP reported it would buy back nearly £600 million of its shares in 2021.
Company shares were up more than 2% in midday trading on the London Exchange.