In March 2020, WPP announced the Board's decision to suspend the 2019 final dividend of 37.3p per share to protect liquidity in light of the threat to liquidity and cash flow from the COVID-19 impact. The Board has now decided to cancel this dividend to contribute towards lower leverage.
For 2020, the Board is declaring an interim dividend of 10p. The record date for the interim dividend is 9 October 2020, and the dividend will be payable on 6 November 2020.
Other financial highlights include:
H1 reported revenue -12.3%, LFL revenue -11.5% (Q2 -18.4%)
H1 revenue less pass-through costs -10.2%, LFL revenue less pass-through costs -9.5%
Q2 LFL revenue less pass-through costs -15.1%: US -9.6%, UK -23.3%, Germany -11.6%, Greater China -3.1%, India -25.1%
H1 headline operating margin 8.2%, down 3.7pt on prior year as cost savings offset the majority of revenue decline
Cost savings of £296 million in H1, on track to deliver towards the upper end of the £700-800 million target. Around 25% of these savings expected to be permanent when returning to 2019 levels of revenue less pass-through costs
Reported loss before tax impacted by £2.7 billion of impairments (£2.5 billion goodwill, £0.2 billion investment and other write-downs); relating to acquisitions whose carrying values have been reassessed, triggered by the impact of COVID-19, and driven by a combination of higher discount rates, a lower profit base in 2020 and lower industry growth rates
Net debt at 30 June 2020 £2.7 billion, down £1.5 billion year-on-year reflecting Kantar transaction and strong working capital management