French-headquartered marketing services group Havas has unveiled an 18% rise in pre-tax profits for the first half of 2005.

The company says profits grew to €53 million ($65m; £35m) in line with analysts' expectations. But, it adds, the group's results need to be "significantly improved by a combination of revenue growth, translating into increased market share, with a substantial rise in profitability".

The world's sixth largest advertising group, which owns Euro RSCG and Arnold Worldwide, reports revenues were 6.4% lower than for the same period in 2004, at €700m. But it points out this would have risen 2.2% when the effects of exchange rate changes and divested businesses were removed.

The company has ridden a roller coaster in recent months following the takeover coup by corporate raider Vincent Bolloré and the loss of several high profile accounts, including the $400m creative business for Volkswagen in North America [WAMN: 07-Sept-05].

That has been offset, however, by new business wins of around €500m, including RadioShack and Sony in the US and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in the UK.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff