Havas Results Overshadow Compatriot Publicis

30 October 2007

PARIS: Publicis Groupe posted its Q3 numbers on Monday, revealing organic revenue growth of 4.6%. Good by most standards - but not good enough. Or so investors seem to believe, with Publicis shares down 4.7% on the Euronext 100 index.

Conversely, across the boulevard at rival Havas, for long viewed as Publicis's poor cousin, the champagne corks were popping as Vincent Bolloré's troops celebrated surprisingly strong organic growth of 9.3% in the third quarter.

But at its larger rival, even a relatively healthy third quarter failed to propel averaged organic growth across the first nine month of 2007 beyond a disappointing 2.6%.

This has led some analysts to speculate that the marketing services giant will fail to meets its full year target of 4%-5%.

Not so, insists Publicis chairman/ceo Maurice Lévy, who posits that the group's overall trading reflects an improving quarter-on-quarter trend, although he concedes that the slowdown in its healthcare sector is likely to persist into 2008.

In sum, total revenues for Publicis in the first nine months were up 7.5% to €3.37 billion ($4.85bn; £2.35bn). With currency fluctuations factored out of the equation, growth would have risen by 11.6% .

Over the same period, Havas revenues were up 3.3% to €1.1bn, or 6% at constant currencies.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff