WPP sees growth in 2007 billings up 5.1%

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WPP Group's 2007 billings were up 5.1% at $63.5 billion, according to its board of directors who released the unaudited preliminary results of the year on Friday.

Last year also saw more new business wins than ever across the group. Reportable revenue was up 4.7% to $12.28 billion. Revenue, including 100% of associates, is estimated to total over $14.49 billion.

On a constant currency basis, revenue was up 8.2%, attributed to the 8.6% decline in the US dollar against the pound sterling. Like-for-like revenues, excluding the impact of acquisitions and on a constant currency basis, were up 5.0%. On the same basis, gross margin was up 5.1%.

Like-for-like revenues were up 5.3% in the first half of 2007 and up 4.8% in the second half, continuing the strong organic growth of 5.4% in 2006. Fourth quarter revenues were up 4.9%.

The group's branding and identity, healthcare and specialist communications (which includes its DM agencies OgilvyOne, 141 Worldwide, Wunderman, RMG Connect and G2) revenues rose by over 14%. Like-for-like revenues rose by over 6%. Operating margins were down slightly by 0.2 margin points. The Group's direct, Internet and interactive businesses showed particularly strong revenue growth.

In constant currencies, advertising and media investment management revenue grew by more than 5%. Like-for-like revenue growth was 4.5%. The combined operating margin of this sector is now 16.0%.

In 2007, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, JWT, Y&R Advertising, Grey Worldwide and United Red Cell generated estimated net new billings of $1.4 billion.

Also in 2007, GroupM, the Group's media investment management company, which includes MindShare, Mediaedge:cia, MediaCom and Maxus, generated estimated net new billings of $7.188 billion.

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