James Moore: Upbeat Sir Martin Sorrell’s going for growth – so why’s he moaning about sterling?

 

Outlook Behind the headlines, WPP, the world’s biggest advertising group, put together an excellent set of results for the first half of its financial year.

While rivals Omnicom and Publicis trotted up to the altar only for it all to collapse earlier this year as rows took the place of vows, WPP opened its arms to disaffected family members, picking up both high-profile clients and the creative people needed to keep them on board.

The company is now reaping the rewards of its rivals’ misstep and extending its lead over them. No wonder chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell felt confident enough to re-state the ambitious growth plans he originally announced as a response to the union while it was still in prospect.

Russia’s stand-off with the Ukraine is making him a bit twitchy. And the perennially depressing situation in the Middle East is never good for clients’ confidence. But with the global economy picking up in spite of it all, they are increasingly inclined to open up their wallets.

All this is reflected in WPP’s results, which were ahead of the City’s forecasts. Sir Martin predicted that the next year will be “demanding”, but a measure of his confidence in WPP’s business can be seen in the fact that the company hiked the first-half dividend by 10 per cent while promising to hit its target of paying out 45 per cent of its earnings ahead of schedule. It’s been busily buying back shares, too.

London’s investment community certainly got the message, marking the shares up on what was a generally slow day as far as the markets were concerned.

Why, then, the fuss about sterling, which Sir Martin said had “ravaged” the results?

Because the pound is strong WPP’s buoyant earnings in other currencies look rather flat when they are translated back.

The effect on the headline numbers was considerable this time around, but it’s hardly a new phenomenon, and the company will benefit when the position is reversed.

Moreover it wasn’t the results that were “ravaged” (as was widely reported) just some of the unadjusted headline numbers.

So Sir Martin’s bonus should be safe from any ravaging. That surely couldn’t have been what this was all about. Could it?

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfordshire - £350 - £360

£350 - £360 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfor...

Chief Financial Officer

120-150k: Accountancy Action: We are looking for an experienced CFO from a min...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?