WPP Profits Jump Despite 'Ravaged' Sterling Impact
WPP Profits Jump Despite 'Ravaged' Sterling Impact: Sir Martin SorrellReuters

WPP, the world's biggest advertising group, reported a rise in profits despite warning that revenues had been "ravaged" by the strength of the pound was over the past few months.

According to WPP's 2014 interim results, reported billings were down 3% at £22bn (€27.6bn, $36.5bn).

WPP reported a 1.5% rise in headline pre-tax profit to £532m, but said its profit rise would have been around 15.6% higher, if currency movements were stripped out.

"The strength of sterling has ravaged... our revenue figures and profits figures on a reported basis," said founder and boss Martin Sorrell in a statement.

WPP's revenue also rose by 2.7% to £5.47bn.

"In 2014, our prime focus will remain on growing revenues and net sales faster than the industry average, driven by our leading position in the new markets, in new media, in data investment management, including data analytics and the application of technology, creativity and horizontality," said the group in a statement.

"At the same time, we will concentrate on meeting our operating margin objectives by managing absolute levels of costs and increasing cost flexibility, in order to adapt our cost structure in case of significant market changes."

WPP employs around 175,000 people in 3,000 offices across the globe and was nearly toppled by, the now collapsed, merger of Omnicom and Publicis as largest ad agency in the world.

"It seems as if the ill-fated merger of Omnicom and Publicis has led to WPP winning business as they post pretax profit ahead of forecasts and pleasing the markets," said Tom Robertson, Trader at Accendo Markets.

"It was only in February that they lowered its margin guidance, but could the major sporting events (like the world cup and commonwealth games) have contributed to these results? If so where are the drivers for growth going forward?"