WPP plc WPP produced another record year in 2016 helped by huge favourable exchange rate movements, especially in the second half. Without these, the strength was much less pronounced. Reported billings rose by 16% but at constant currency rates the rise was reduced to 5.5% and on a like for like basis it was down to 3.3%. Growth in revenue varied from a rise of 17.6% to an actual fall of 7% in Yen. Overall 10.4% revenue growth was due to currency movements. Profit before tax rose by 26.7% but in constant currency terms fell to 12.5%. Dividends for the year have also been increased by 26.7% at 56.6p per share, which means that the target pay out of 50p per share has been reached a year ahead of schedule.
2017 has started slowly with January producing a like for like rise in revenue of only 1.5% due to what are described as tepid economic growth and weaker new business trends. The growth target for 2017 has been set at 2%.
London Stock Exchange LSE proposes to increase its final dividend by 20% after a strong financial performance for the year to 31st December. Income rose by 17% and adjusted profit before tax and earnings per share both grew by 21%
Harvey Nash HVN claims resilient trading for the year to the end of January despite gross profit falling by 1% on a constant currency basis. Brexit is blamed for holding back growth in the UK & Ireland, whilst the Rest of the World faced challenging market conditions in Hong Kong and Offshore Services were hit by the weakness of Sterling, leading to a fall of 7% in gross profit. Only Mainland Europe helped to save the day with growth of 8% ( 4% at constant currency rates.)
Gear4music G4M Sales for the year to the 28th February were well ahead of expectations with a rise of 58%. Europe and the Rest of the World led the way with a rise of 124%. Profits are expected to be marginally ahead of expectations.