LONDON: WPP, the world's biggest advertising company, said it would target flat organic growth and profit margin in 2020 after weakness in major markets dragged its fourth quarter down.
The British group reported a 1.9% drop in its main measure of organic revenue less pass-through costs compared with the 0.5% growth recorded in the previous quarter.
For the year, the group reported organic sales down 1.6%. That excludes its data business Kantar after it sold a major stake in the unit to Bain Capital.
The company also reiterated its 2021 targets of reaching organic growth in line with peers and a headline operating profit margin of at least 15%. Its forecasts were made prior to any impact from the coronavirus.
"We said that we would make progress in the journey to return WPP to growth, simplifying our business and reducing our debt, and we have delivered against each of these goals," Chief Executive Mark Read said.
WPP has endured a tough three years after it lost work from major clients such as Ford and American Express in the United States. While its performance has started to improve its shares are still languishing, down more than 50% since March 2017. - Reuters