Mark Read
Mark Read

WPP’s BCW and Hill+Knowlton Strategies posted Q3 declines in like-for-like revenues due to “macroeconomic uncertainty in the US, while FGS Global “continued to grow well,” according to the British PR/ad conglomerate’s trading update.

The PR group suffered a 4.9 percent drop in reported revenues to $283M and a 0.9 percent dip on a LFL basis.

“Our public relations and public affairs businesses had a tougher Q3, very much in line with what we hear elsewhere in the industry with pressures most felt in the United States," Mark Read, WPP CEO, told O'Dwyer's. "That said, FGS Global did well, particularly internationally and new leadership at BCW with Corey du Browa and at H&K with Craig Bucholz both joining the WPP agencies demonstrates our commitment to top talent and to change.”

WPP reported a 1.8 decline in overall reported revenues to 4.2B and a 2.3 percent LFL gain.

Read said WPP’s Q3 “top-line performance was below our expectations and continued to be impacted by the cautious spending trends we saw in Q2, particularly across technology clients.”

In its big North America market, WPP recorded a 9.6 percent plunge to $1.4B in revenues less pass-through costs. The US was down 4.2 percent.

China fell 4.2 percent; Germany declined 3.8 percent; India registered a 7.3 percent gain; and UK inched ahead 1.1 percent to round out the top five markets.

Read issued his second profit warning this year, cutting predicted growth in half to 0.5 to 1.0 percent. He also sliced margin growth.

He promised to update investors on about WPP’s strategic roadmap to drive growth, further cutbacks, and margin expansion plans over the next three to five years during Capital Markets Day in January.