LONDON — WPP has reported encouraging Q3 results, with like-for-like revenue across its PR division up by 16% compared to the same period last year — and up 12.6% from the group’s pre-pandemic Q3 2019.

It’s the third consecutive quarterly revenue rise for the division, whose PR agencies include BCW, Hill+Knowlton Strategies and Finsbury Glover Hering. The PR division rose by 2% in Q1 this year — its first quarterly revenue rise for two years.

WPP said specialist agencies are the PR group’s strongest performers, and accelerating growth at BCW and H+K also contributed to the growth.

Moving forward, the holding company is also banking on the merger of Finsbury Glover Hering (FGH) and Sard Verbinnen (SVC), creating a financial PR powerhouse with combined revenues of $330m, employing 1,000 staff across 25 worldwide offices, and operating under a new name from the start of next year.

WPP as a whole also had a “very strong Q3 performance,” with revenue less pass-through costs up 15.7% from Q3 2020 and 6.9% from the same quarter in 2019.

Growth was particularly strong in the US, which was up 12.4%; the UK, up 16.9%; Germany, up 34.5%; Greater China, up 18.0%; and Australia, up 2.4%.

WPP chief executive Mark Reid said: “Our very strong performance goes well beyond a cyclical recovery, with like-for-like growth over 2019 at 6.9% in the quarter. Clients across all sectors and geographies are making significant investments in marketing, particularly in digital media and ecommerce services. We are now above 2019 levels in all of our business lines, and with the actions we have taken over the last three years, we are even better positioned for growth.

“Our reshaped offer —  which combines creativity with technology and data, through Choreograph, with the largest global media platform in GroupM - is proving its value for existing and new clients. This is reflected in the continuation of our longstanding and successful partnership with Unilever, and the growth of our relationship with Bayer. In addition, we are delighted to have won new assignments with Beiersdorf, L’Oréal, Sainsbury’s and TD Bank.

“We have also made strategic progress, creating the world’s leading board-level communications firm through the merger of Finsbury Glover Hering and SVC, and acquiring Satalia, a specialist in artificial intelligence. We continue to return excess capital to shareholders, buying back 4% of our shares so far this year. With strong client demand, a clear strategic direction and a strong balance sheet, we are well positioned to continue our momentum into 2022 and beyond.”