Havas Half-Year Revenues Plunge 6.4%

04 August 2005

With the fallout yet to settle after Vincent Bolloré's recent control snatch and ensuing management upheaval, beleaguered French agency holding company Havas on Wednesday unveiled disappointing numbers for its second quarter and half-year trading.

Q2 revenue fell 5.5% year-on-year to $451 million (€366m; £253m), while trading in the first six months of 2005 fared even less well with a 6.4% decline to $854 million

Organic growth, however, rose 3% in the second quarter compared with the same period in 2004, while in H1 it increased by 2.2%. As is its usual practice, Havas will report earnings and other financial details in September.

The group's North American revenues remained flat at $338m with account gains such as Radio Shack negated by the loss of Intel and Volkswagen.

Latin America generated the best organic growth with an H1 gain of 19% and Asia Pacific the worst. Globally, there was a 6% decline in organic growth, mainly due to the loss of the Intel business.

Havas' new management was cagey both as to its intentions and its view of the future. Recently appointed ceo Philippe Wahl, a former banker, told investors and analysts: "We have to reassess the strategy of the group" and ducked answering specific questions.

As to whether Havas is eying Aegis Group, currently rumored to be 'at home' to well-heeled Romeos, Wahl was understandably zip-lipped. "We have to be opportunistic, and work for the good of the company," was as far as he was prepared to go.

Havas is the holding company for the Euro RSGG and Arnold Worldwide agency networks and media buying and planning specialist MPG.

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff