PARIS: No longer the seven-stone weakling humiliated by sand-kicking beach bullies, Havas flexed its pecs at the rest of the ad world on Monday and unveiled a muscular 2007 full year operating profit up 39% to €168m ($258,2m; £128.04m).

Havas, whose prime assets include the Euro RSCG agency network and global media specialist MPG, reported net income up 81% year-on-year to €83m; while organic revenue growth rose 7.1% during the year ended December 31.

It is the best set of numbers achieved by the world's fifth largest marketing services group since the turn of the century, despite which Havas chief executive Fernando Rodes resisted the temptation to indulge in reciprocal sand-kicking.

"We have performed a little bit better than we thought but we are still very much within our three- to four-year plan," he said. "If 2006 was about achieving stability then 2007 has been about generating growth." 

Havas is still seeking acquisitions, says Rodes, his eye fixed on mid-size "strategic markets and disciplines" of between $50m and $150m. But there would "probably not be a huge corporate deal" on the table.

And Aegis?

"Aegis is something else. Aegis is a different treatment, it is an investment of our largest shareholder (Vincent Bolloré) and we will see," said Rodes as he bobbed and weaved.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff