LONDON: WPP Group has reported that its first quarter revenues reached £1.56 billion ($3.1bn; €2.0bn) – a 14.1% increase year on year – and that it registered new billings worth £564 million in Q1, with its North American income growing "faster than commentators might expect".

A report issued by the advertising conglomerate stated that revenues were up by over 5% on a like-for-like basis in North America, and also improved on the last half of 2007, "despite the talk of recession and the continuing credit crisis affecting the major financial institutions in the United States." 

By contrast, growth was said to be "somewhat surprisingly" slower in much of Western Europe – including Germany, France and Spain – while the UK showed the slowest growth rate of all the company's regions of operation.

Eastern Europe, however, posted the highest revenue growth rate – up 21% – with Latin America improving by 15% and Asia Pacific by 6%.

China and India both recorded improvements of 19% in Q1 year on year, though WPP ceo Sir Martin Sorrell said he expects growth to slow in China in 2009, as "no economy can grow at 10% compound forever".

Sorrell has previously indicated that he thinks 2009 will be a slower year for WPP than this year, while the provisional indicators for the company's full-year forecasts are also said to show that its revenues are growing faster this year than in 2007.

Data sourced from The Times (UK); additional content by WARC staff