Paris-headquartered Havas Advertising, the world’s sixth largest agency group, revealed on Friday that it has been required to restate its 2001 financial accounts.

The instruction was issued by French stock exchange regulator, Commissions des Opérations de Bourse, compelling Havas to refile its accounts in accordance with US ‘generally accepted accounting principles’.

The revised accounts do not make as lighthearted a read as their prequal which reported EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortization) for 2001 of €233 million ($210,0m; £144.1m) – a result that compared not too unfavourably with the €250m reported in 2000. Restated EBITDA, however, is a mere €81.3m – sixty-five per cent less than the original figure.

This draconian revision was brought about by the watchdog’s demand that certain unusual items originally presented as ‘extraordinary income/expense’ be reclassified as ‘operating income’.

Commented a Havas spokesperson: “The 2001 restructuring charge relates to the 5%-10% contraction in the advertising sector, which prompted the group to shed jobs and cancel office leases. Nobody is forecasting that will happen again this year.”

Data sourced from: Havas website and BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff