The recent uplift in the North American advertising market failed to shield Paris-headquartered agency holding company Havas from a 7.7% decline in 2002 revenues.

Havas, the globe’s sixth largest marketing services group, blamed continuing fragility in the European advertising sector. And although it did name names, it will not have helped that one of Havas’s largest clients MCI WorldCom, still operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, ceased advertising entirely in the year’s third quarter.

Total revenues for the year reached $2.15 billion (€1.98bn; £1.32), 7.7% below 2001 – or 5.8% down on an organic basis, after adjusting for acquisitions and currency fluctuations. Q4 revenues at $556.7 million were similarly hit, registering a year-on-year organic decline of 6.7%.

Although the Asia Pacific and Latin America markets prospered with respective revenue increases of 5.2% and 0.5%, these failed to redress falls of 5.7% in Europe and 7.2% in North America. Traditional advertising appeared to hold its own in the fourth quarter, however, down just 0.2% compared with a flat performance in the same period a year back. Q4 marketing services activity – normally a Havas bulwark – declined by a hefty 10.4%.

For the full year, traditional advertising revenue sagged 8.9% and marketing and media revenue fell 6.9%. Full 2002 earnings data is scheduled for release on March 6.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff