WPP sales decline improves, though not in China

The marketing giant said it expected to be towards the upper end of its £700-800mln cost reduction target for the year


WPP PLC (LON:WPP) said it was on track to meet improved expectations for the year as it reported progress on revenues and costs in the third quarter.

The advertising and communications group posted a 7.6% decline in like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs, a big improvement compared to the 15.1% fall in the second quarter.

In its top markets, this metric was down 5.5% in the US, 6.5% in the UK, 1.8% in Germany and 16.3% in India – all improved over the second quarter – though a 16.7% decline in Greater China was much worse.

The FTSE 100 group reported “continued good momentum in new business”, with new client wins with Uber and Alibaba contributing to US$1.6bn won in the three months since July, taking the running total for 2020 to US$5.6bn.

WPP said it expected to be towards the upper end of its £700-800mln cost reduction target for the year.

Average net debt for the nine months of the year of £2.5bn is down roughly £2bn year-on-year.

Having recently indicated the group was ready to go on a buying spree, chief executive Mark Read reverted to caution about wider markets in the statement, given the tightening of COVID restrictions around the world and uncertainty in the global economic outlook, stressing that “it is important that we maintain our strong financial position”.

Quick facts: WPP PLC

Price: 776.4 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £9.51 billion

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