WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrell
WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrell

Advertising and media services company WPP has projected strong full-year results after reporting first-quarter profits well ahead of earlier estimates and last year's results.

The world's largest advertising group said its reported revenues rose 6% sequentially to £2.5bn ($3.8bn, €2.9bn) in the first quarter on robust performance in Britain. On a like-for-like basis, revenues were up more than 2%.

"The pattern of revenue growth in 2013 has started similarly to the final quarter of 2012, with constant currency growth showing continuing improvement across all sectors, except public relations and public affairs and across all geographies," WPP said.

The company, which owns ad agencies including Young & Rubicam and Ogilvy & Mather, did not give its profit figures for the first quarter, but said profits and operating margin were above budget and well ahead of last year.

The group said its results gained from a strong contribution from Britain, where revenues rose by 11.9% despite the negative wider market trends. The company's fast-growing markets including Asia Pacific, Latin America and Africa reported an 8.1% growth in first-quarter revenues. Revenues rose 2.5% in the US and 5.1% in Europe.

During the first quarter the company also made 13 acquisitions in countries such as China, the US, Maynmar, Colombia and Hong Kong.

Looking ahead, the company expects like-for-like revenue and gross margin growth for the full-year above budget. It targets a headline operating margin of 15.3%, up 0.5 margin points.

"Our budgets for 2013 indicated like-for-like growth of around 3 percent over last year," the group said.

The company added that 2014 looks a better prospect than 2013 with "the World Cup in Brazil, the Winter Olympics in Sochi and, would you believe, another United States election."