Aug 29 - The world's biggest advertising company, WPP, has reported a 5 per cent rise in like-for-like revenues and improved its full year outlook. CEO Martin Sorrell says it was a good performance in tough economic conditions. Rough cut only (no reporter narration).
The world's biggest advertising agency, WPP, has improved its outlook for the full year as it reported a 5 per cent rise in like-for-like revenues in July. CEO Martin Sorrell told Reuters it was a good performance in tough economic conditions. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) WPP CEO MARTIN SORRELL SAYING: "One can always do better and we're always striving to do better, but I'm very satisfied - I don't want to be too satisfied, but I'm very satisfied with what we're doing." The London-listed group posted a 7.1 percent rise in first-half reported revenue to 5.3 billion pounds ($8.23 billion), and a 12 percent rise in headline pre-tax profit to 524 million pounds, broadly in line with market forecasts. Like-for-like revenue was up 2.4 percent in the first half. WPP said it was benefiting from consolidation trends in the industry, winning assignments from existing and new clients, which would be seen in group revenues later in 2013 and 2014. The group saw strongest revenue growth in Britain in the second quarter, up 5.4 percent on a like-for-like basis, while Western Continental Europe continued to be the weakest region, with like-for-like growth down 1.2 percent. With investors on edge over future turmoil in the Middle East, Sorrell said Syria was a worry. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) WPP CEO MARTIN SORRELL SAYING: "It's not just Syria - it's Egypt, it's Lebanon, it's North Africa generally and the Middle East generally, and the potential knock on effects not just to oil price, inflation, economic activity, but of course the political and social tensions as a result. So it is generally a worry. One hopes it can be isolated, it seems an almost impenetrable problem for the west to deal with and the precedents for these sort of actions that are being talked about are not good." Syrian tensions are also adding to worries about the impact of an expected reduction in the Federal Reserve's stimulus policy, which business leaders like Sorrell are closely watching. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) WPP CEO MARTIN SORRELL SAYING: "I think the biggest economic grey swan is obviously tapering - the impact of tapering and the timing of tapering in the U.S." WPP shares were up 1.9 percent at 1,200 pence by 0710 GMT.