WPP sees growth across the globe

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The Independent Online

The Presidential elections in the US, the Olympic Games, the flotation of Google and the Euro 2004 football championships are all kick-starting growth in the global advertising market, according to WPP. The group, one of the world's largest marketing services companies, reported double-digit quarterly revenue gains in almost all its regions yesterday.

Sir Martin Sorrell, the company's chief executive, said like-for-like revenues were up 2 per cent in the past three months as his clients, enjoying improved profitability, boosted their marketing budgets. Nine of WPP's top 10 clients, and 17 of the top 20, were beginning to increase their marketing spending.

"In the past few years, clients have not had much pricing power and spending has been restricted. But corporate profits are starting to improve after a background of cost cutting," Sir Martin said. "Political spending on the presidential election helps drive up prices on all advertising and George Bush wants to stimulate the economy in the run-up to it. Then there are other quadrennial factors like the Olympics and Euro 2004 - in the past you have seen 1 to 2 per cent additional growth in these quadrennial years."

He also believes the pick-up in the technology sector will boost advertising spends, while the high-profile flotation of Google will highlight internet advertising channels.

All areas of WPP's business are reporting growth, although City investors still managed to knock 14.5p off the shares, which closed at 556p yesterday. Advertising and media revenues were £439.5m, up 14.3 per cent. Public relations and public affairs was up 5.6 per cent to £105.3m. Excluding currency effects, North American revenues rose 11 per cent, the UK was up 12 per cent, and the Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East regions were up 28 per cent.