WPP, the world's largest ad group, posted a better-than-expected 19 rise in 2011 profit, and reaffirmed its targets for 2012, when it will benefit from the Olympics, European Soccer Championships and the U.S. presidential election.

The company, whose portfolio includes Young & Rubicam, Ogilvy & Mather, and Group M, posted headline pretax profit of 1.229 billion pounds on revenue of 10.02 billion pounds, up 7.4 percent.

Organic revenue growth for the year was 5.3 percent, and headline operating margins were up 1.1 percentage points to 14.3 percent, both beating analyst expectations of 5 percent and 14 percent respectively.

It said it would grow faster than the industry in 2012 due to its strength in emerging economies and new media, and it reiterated its target of organic revenue growth of 4 percent in 2012 and 50 basis points of operating margin improvement.

Organic revenue rose 4 percent in January, it said, with Asia Pacific and Latin America the brightest spots.

Analysts expected the company to report revenue of 10.0 billion pounds and headline pretax profit of 1.193 billion pounds, according to a company-compiled consensus of 21 brokers.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Neil Maidment)