Business

WPP profits rise but revenue forecast cut

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Media captionSir Martin Sorrell: "I guess we misjudged the mood of the shareholders"

WPP, the world's largest advertising group, has reported half-year pre-tax profits of £358m ($567m), up 7% on the same period last year.

Revenues rose 5.5% to £4.97bn, dividends per share 18% to 8.8p and total billings 1% to £21.7bn.

But the group's shares initially fell 4.2% as it reduced its full-year outlook for 2012, advising "caution". They later recovered to end 1.6% down.

The US and Western European markets slowed in the second quarter, it said.

But this was offset by stronger growth in the UK and emerging markets, such as Latin America.

The group's forecast for cumulative like-for-like revenue growth for the year was reduced from 4% to 3.5%, disappointing shareholders.

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Chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, who has led the company since 1985, admitted to the BBC that he had "misjudged" the mood of shareholders by asking for a big pay rise.

In June, 60% of shareholders voted against the company's remuneration report at the annual general meeting in protest at Sir Martin's £6.8m pay package.

The company confirmed that it was relocating its headquarters back to the UK from Dublin, Ireland, where it has been based since 2008.

WPP, which employs 158,000 people in 107 countries, lists Vodafone, Shell and Ford among its advertising clients.

It also owns many well-known communications groups, such as Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam and Cohn & Wolfe.

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