Publicis Groupe vowed to outperform the global ad market this year as it posted an 18% uplift in net profits for 2001 to €151 million ($131.3m; £92.5m), ahead of analysts' expectations.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) at the world's sixth largest agency group jumped 27.5% to €426m, while operating profits increased 24.4% to €342m.

Last month, Publicis reported a 37.5% rise in full-year revenues [WAMN: 13-Feb-02], largely due to acquisitions. Nevertheless, its 3.1% organic revenue growth beat the 5% fall in the overall ad market.

Despite caution about the outlook for 2002, chairman Maurice Levy was confident Publicis could enjoy another successful year.

"Our group is currently prepared to expand further and we are well positioned as 2002 gets under way," he declared. "We believe that we will be able to outperform the world market once again this year. And we expect earnings to rise further in 2002."

The champagne was not so free-flowing at fellow French-headquartered group Havas Advertising, which sank from €89.2m profit in 2000 to a net loss of €57.8m last year, significantly worse than analysts' forecasts of €10.8m-€39.5m.

Despite the loss, Havas also managed organic revenue growth (0.3%) in a declining market last year [WAMN: 14-Feb-02], while EBITDA stood at €316m.

Although it predicted further "degradation" of the ad sector in 2002, Havas was also upbeat about the coming months. "We are confident of a rebound for Havas Advertising in 2002," declared chairman/ceo Alain de Pouzilhac.

"The beginning of this year has been very encouraging in terms of new business. The acquisitions made and the companies integrated into our three divisions will have their full effect this year."

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; BrandRepublic (UK); Havas Advertising; additional content by WARC staff