PARIS: Havas, long the most frail of the Big Five global marketing services conglomerates, flexed its new-found muscle under the leadership of Vincent Bolloré (pictured) to post a soaring 71% leap in first half profit to €35 million ($49.44m; £24.52m) versus €21m in 2006.

The group's transfiguration is largely new business-driven, thanks to an influx of multinational accounts such as Reckitt Benckiser, Sanofi-Aventis, Pfizer and Exxon Mobil.

Says Havas ceo Fernando Rodés Vilà: "These satisfactory first-half 2007 results for Havas are in line with expectations.

"Continuing our focus on winning new business, rationalization and cost control is the key to the group's long-term, profitable growth."

During the year's first half, net new business rose year-on-year from €900m to €1.24 billion - achieved despite the negative impact the euro's appreciation against the dollar.

First-half revenue rose 1.3% to €729 million, driven by a second-quarter 5.4% rise in organic growth - an upswing that excludes acquisitions, disposals and currency movements.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online. additional content by WARC staff