By Adria Calatayud
WPP PLC said Thursday that like-for-like net sales fell 15% in the second quarter as cost-conscious clients tightened their advertising budgets, and swung to a first-half pretax loss on coronavirus-related charges.
The world's largest advertising group said like-for-like net sales fell 9.2% on year.
Full-year like-for-like net sales and headline operating margin are expected to be within the range of analysts' expectations, the company said. Analysts currently expect WPP's like-for-like net sales to fall between 10% and 11.5% in and its headline operating margin to be between 10.4% and 12.5%, according to figures provided by the company.
London-based WPP said the coronavirus pandemic triggered a reassessment of the value of acquisitions. As a result, it booked impairment charges of 2.7 billion pounds ($3.57 billion).
For the first half as a whole, the company reported a pretax loss of GBP2.58 billion compared with a profit of GBP409.0 million in the year-earlier period.
Revenue for the half year fell 12% to GBP5.58 billion, WPP said.
WPP declared an interim dividend of 10 pence a share, down from 22.7 pence a share last year, and said its share buyback is still under review. The company said it intends to restart share repurchases when the environment stabilizes.
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