UK lags behind rest of world in WPP figures

The UK remains WPP Group's slowest-growing region, according to the company's half-year figures.

The advertising group, which owns the JWT and Ogilvy & Mather networks, reported an overall 17 per cent growth in turnover and organic growth of 4.5 per cent. This was slightly lower than the 5 per cent expected.

Organic growth stood at 4 per cent in the US and at 8 per cent in the Middle East.

WPP did not supply organic growth figures for the UK and Western Europe, but said UK revenues were up 6 per cent. This compared with soaring figures in Eastern Europe, where revenue rose by 49 per cent and in Continental Europe, where it increased by 11 per cent.

The WPP chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, said that both regions had stabilised but admitted the UK was not growing as quickly as other regions.

He added that WPP would continue to focus on the Latin American and Asian markets.

At the WPP Annual General Meeting, Sorrell also predicted that the Havas chairman, Vincent Bollore, would buy Aegis, the media network in which the Frenchman has a 29 per cent stake.

Sorrell also backed Bollore's bid for seats on the Aegis board. So far, Bollore has failed to secure seats owing to a perceived conflict of interest with Havas.

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