Financial News

  • 26 August 2014, 14:24

WPP Fears Russia Hit As Strong Pound Hurts

The world's biggest advertising group WPP took a £460m hit to its first half revenues because of the strength of the pound.

The company - led by chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell - reported revenues of £5.47bn over the period and said it would have been closer to £6bn but for sterling's high value.

Profit before tax for the period of £491m was up 15.0% - by 33.7% in constant currency - and WPP confirmed its full-year guidance.

Shares in the FTSE 100-listed firm gained 2.1% in early trading.

But Sir Martin warned the company's business in Russia would weaken in the second half of the year as a result of western sanctions - following a strong start to 2014.

He said the crisis arising from the conflict in Ukraine had replaced the eurozone's economic woes as his biggest geopolitical concern.

Sir Martin also expressed personal concern about the potential impact of a 'yes' vote in the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence and fierce debate on Britain's membership of the European Union.

He told Sky News: "The uncertainty surrounding Scotland, the uncertainty surrounding our position in Europe - whether you think it's right or wrong for Scottish independence or right or wrong for us to be in the EU - whatever you believe the uncertainty is not good for business.

"If Scotland decides that independence is the way to go we'll have to deal with it, just like we have to deal with other situations throughout the world whether it be the Middle East, Russia, Ukraine, sanctions, hard or soft landings economically... these are all things, geopolitical issues that businesses face and they have to deal with."

 

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