Havas sees profits rise 25%

03 March 2009

SURESNES, France: Havas, the French marketing services conglomerate, saw its net income rise to €104 million ($132m; £93m) in 2008, up 25% year-on-year, and more than double the total recorded in 2006.

The company also posted a 2.3% increase in revenues to €1.57 billion for the year, including growth of 2% in the last quarter, when both Omnicom and Interpublic registered declines.

While organic revenues were up by 4.7%, this total was down from 7.1% over 2007 as a whole.

Annual North American revenues improved by 2.1% year-on-year in 2008 to €477m, despite a decline of 2% in the fourth quarter.

European revenues also rose by 5.4% to €923m, while Latin American organic revenues were up 13.8%, and sales in Asia Pacific grew by 1.8%.

Its operating margin expanded to 12.1% from 11% in 2007, with digital revenues contributing 14% of total sales last year, and growing at a faster pace than traditional media operations.

Despite not providing forecasts for this year, Havas said its "well-established positions in mature markets" gave it an "advantage in view of the expected slowdown in emerging markets."

It has also reorganised its creative and digital agencies, including Arnold Worldwide and Euro RSCG, under the umbrella Havas Worldwide, a move intended to streamline its operations

Havas Media, a similar umbrella organisation for the conglomerate's media agencies, was created in 2007, and houses shops including MPG.

The company's ceo, David Jones, will serve as the new global ceo of Havas Worldwide, and is now effectively in direct control of agencies generating an estimated 80% of the holding group's total revenues.

Data sourced from Financial Times/AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff