Havas, still battling with a group restructure, has posted slight organic growth in the first quarter.

The French marketing services holding company said estimated first quarter billings were €2.4 billion ($2.8bn;£1.6bn). Overall it witnessed fractional organic growth of 0.7% compared with a drop of 3.8% in the fourth quarter of 2003.

Havas reported modestly upbeat performances in its home market of France, most of mainland Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Significantly, however, it failed to make any real headway in the UK where it has had a tough time.

Earlier this month the group sold its controlling share in London ad agency WCRS to the shop's management. The move was forced on Havas after it posted a 31% drop in first half earnings for 2003.

In a cautious comment the company said the worldwide recovery for adspend was uncertain.

Putting on a brave face, chairman Alain de Pouzilhac, said: “We continue to focus on our ambition as a ‘challenger’: achieving the double objective of positive organic growth and a strong improvement in our profitability.”

Data sourced from: Brand Republic (UK) additional content by WARC staff