WPP founder Sir Martin Sorrell receives second largest annual payout in the history of FTSE 100 blue-chip companies
WPP, led by Sir Martin Sorrell, is one of the largest advertising groups in the world Reuters

WPP, one of the world's largest advertising groups, has broken the £2bn profit barrier for the first time in its history.

The London-based group said its profit before interest and tax rose by 22% to £2.16bn ($2.65bn) in the year-end results to 31 December.

Revenue rose 18% to £14.4bn, helped by favourable exchange rate movements in the second half of the year.

Double-digit revenue growth was recorded in North America, Western Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe.

However, WPP warned that global conditions in the advertising market are likely to be more challenging this year as a result of "tepid economic growth".

"2016, the group's thirty first year, was another record year, following successive post-Lehman record years in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, six record years in a row, despite a generally low global growth or tepid environment," the company said.

"Top line growth remained strong, with operating profits and margins meeting and exceeding targets and all regions and sectors showing growth on almost all metrics."

The firm said it had set its budget for 2017 "conservatively" at around 2% for both revenue and net sales, as a result of tepid economic growth and weaker new business trends.