Paris-headquartered Havas, the globe’s sixth-largest agency holding company, posted depressed H1 results – blaming the frail European economy and the strength of the euro versus the US dollar.

In the six months to June 30 Havas recorded a loss of €58 million ($65.55m; £40.51m), painfully outstripping the -€4.5 million predicted by analysts and a stark contrast to €15m net profit in the same period last year.

At operating level, Havas achieved a profit of €65m, down 17.5% on analysts’ forecasts and 40.9% year-on-year. The group attributed its austere performance to currency exchange rate fluctuations and the general weakness of the European economy. However, Havas’ debt situation has improved, down year-on-year from €743m to €715m.

A restructuring and refocusing program, announced last month [WAMN: 11-Aug-03], will slash 750 jobs globally but result in a lower cost base for the second half.

Commented chairman/ceo Alain de Pouzilhac: “The interim figures have helped give us the courage to go right through with the logic of our reorganization. Bob Schmetterer and I expect a great deal from this reorganization for our brands, our clients and for all those who have demonstrated their confidence in us.

“Our objective is to organize Havas so as to be able to respond in the best way possible to the new and evolving needs of our clients worldwide, to prepare our Group for the significant changes anticipated within the media environment in the future and to relaunch our growth and profits.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff