WPPGY's 1Q12 Trading Update - Analyst Blog

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Ireland-based advertising titan WPP Group plc. ( WPPGY ) released its trading update for the first quarter of 2012, on April 27. The company's top line grew 7.6% year over year to £2,392 million (US$3,757.5 million).

Revenue growth was attributed to strength across all geographical regions and communication services sector. On a constant currency basis, revenue grew by approximately 7.4%. Excluding the impact of acquisitions and currency fluctuations, revenue was up 4.0% in the reported period.

From a geographical perspective, WPP Group experienced a noticeable growth in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Central & Eastern Europe; where revenue grew by 11.2% year over year and 11.1% on a constant currency basis.

Revenue in North America grew 6.9% or 4.9% on a constant currency basis while the United Kingdom registered a 5.0% revenue growth both on reported or constant currency basis. Western Continental Europe registered a 5.8% year-over-year revenue growth and 8.2% growth on a constant currency basis.

Of the four business segments, revenue from Advertising & Media Investment Management segment increased 8.3% year over year to £973.0 million (US$1,528.4 million) and accounted for 40.7% of the quarter's total revenue. Consumer Insight revenue (23.8% of total revenue) of £569.0 million (US$893.8 million) grew by 3.0%.

Branding & Identity, Healthcare and Specialist Communications (26.1% of total revenue) revenue was £625.0 million (US$981.8 million), up 10.8% year over year while revenue from Public Relations & Public Affairs grew 8.1% to £225.0 million (US$353.4 million).

Net new business billings won during the quarter was £1,181 million (US$1.855 billion); attributed to incremental business from existing and new clients.

Exiting the first quarter of fiscal 2012, net debt was £2,816 million (US$4,502.7 million), up 11.5% year over year.

For the twelve months ended March 31, 2012, the Group's free cash flow was £1.287 billion (US$2.054 billion) while capital expenditure, acquisitions, share repurchases and dividends were £1.180 billion (US$1.883 million).

Outlook

For the fiscal year 2012, management expects to achieve like-for-like revenue and gross margin growth of over 4%. Headline operating margin is expected to improve by 50 basis points.

Based in Dublin, Ireland, WPP Group together with its subsidiaries provides advertising and communications services worldwide. The Group faces competition from its peers like Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. ( IPG ), Omnicom Group Inc. ( OMC ), and Publicis Groupe SA (PUBGY.PK).


 
INTERPUBLIC GRP ( IPG ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
OMNICOM GRP ( OMC ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
WPP PLC ( WPPGY ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: IPG , OMC , WPPGY

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