Strong growth in Asia and a shot in the arm from digital advertising, has seen WPP chalk up pre-tax profits in excess of £1 billion.
WPP, owner of Y&R, Grey, Ogilvy Public Relations, PR agencies Cohn & Wolfe, Burson-Marsteller and Hill + Knowlton Strategies, has reported robust growth in an economic environment that many say is in decline.
The company’s Asia Pacific and Latin America operations recorded “particularly strong growth”
In 2011, WPP said it agency brands Ogilvy & Mather, JWT, Y&R, Grey and United generated net new business billings of US$1.45 billion.
In addition its PR companies Ogilvy Public Relations and Cohn & Wolfe “did particularly well” with full year growth of 6.2%.
GroupM, the group’s media investment management company, which includes Mindshare, MEC, MediaCom, Maxus, GroupM Search and Xaxis, together generated net new business billings of US$2.5 billion.
WPP’s results mirror those of other major global holding companies, Omnicom, Havas and Interpublic, which have shown strong growth.
In late February, Interpublic, owner of Weber Shandwick, McCann Worldgroup and UM, reported a 40% increase in profits for Q4 of 2011, while Omnicom reported a 15% increase in profits to $US952 million for the 2011 calendar year.
Marketing services group Havas, which owns agency networks including Euro RSCG and MPG, has reported a 9% year-on-year increase in profits in 2011 to €220m (£184m) and a revenue growth of 5.4% to €1.65bn.
According to Havas, the growth was driven digital and social media and emerging markets such as Latin America and Asia Pacific.
Meanwhile, WPP said it would continue to acquire new companies, with a particular focus on new markets, new media and consumer insight.
The company has set aside around £300 million to seize opportunities in line with its new markets and new media mantra.