Suresnes, France, headquartered Havas - the globe's sixth largest marketing services group - on Tuesday released first quarter results reflecting worldwide organic growth of 1.4%, in line with analysts' expectations and twice that of the same period last year.

Trumpeting the numbers as evidence of accelerating recovery, Havas chairman/ceo Alain de Pouzilhac attributed Q1 growth to "very good performance" in the US and Europe."

He continued: "The first quarter has reinforced our confidence in achieving our objectives for 2005. We are also confirming our objective of improving the operating margin through the gradual build-up of new accounts, the development of existing clients and our continued cost reduction efforts."

First quarter revenues stood at €330 million ($424.94m; £225.7m), 7.5% down on the same period last year. Regional fortunes varied with Latin America leading the race out of the red and the UK lagging it …

  • North America increased +1.8% confirming Havas' recovery in a market accounting for 41% of group revenue - attributable mainly to good performance on the part of Arnold Worldwide (excluding its RadioShack account win in April).

  • France and rest of Europe outperformed the market (+2.2% and +2.1% respectively). However, the UK was down 3.3%, primarily as a result of the postponement of government advertising expenditure due to the national elections.

  • Latin America again achieved outstanding organic growth of 19.7%, compared with 11.1% in fourth quarter 2004.

  • Asia-Pacific dropped 2.7%, largely because of problems in Australia. This was partly compensated by a robust performance in China (+8.5%).
Concluded de Pouzilhac: "I am proud of these achievements which were made possible through the contributions of our staff worldwide. Havas' turnaround is substantial, and should be further amplified in the second half of the year."

Data sourced from Havas; additional content by WARC staff