PARIS: French marketing services conglomerates Publicis Groupe and Havas (respectively fourth and sixth among the globe's agency holding companies) each reported lacklustre results for the year's first half - the former posting year-on-year organic growth of just 0.5%, the latter 1.3%.
Says chairman/ceo Maurice Lévy: "Organic growth in the second quarter, and for the first half as a whole, does not reflect what Publicis Groupe has regularly achieved nor its potential.
"Given current trends, growth for the second half-year should be much stronger than the first half, and growth for the entire year, as things stand now, is likely to be between 4% and 5%."
The group's organic growth in north America in Q2 was 1.2%, bettering Europe's meagre 0.2%. Asia Pacific returned growth of 5.1%; Latin America 5.4%; and 10.4% elsewhere in the world.
Undeterred by the H1 standstill Lévy is sticking to his guns over Publicis's 2008 operating margin target of 16.7% in 2008, from a base of 16.3% in 2006.
However, the group went into overdrive during the second quarter, returning its strongest growth in six years at +5.4%.
While for H1 as a whole, net new business was up 38% to €729m, spurred by a number of major account wins that included Reckitt Benckiser, Sanofi-Aventis, Pfizer and Exxon Mobil.
Latin America led the growth curve, surging 16.8% to €36m, followed by Asia-Pacific (+9.7% to €30m), Europe excluding France and UK (+8.7% to €167m ) and North America (+1.6% to €251m).
France rose 2.4% to €160m while the UK edged up 1.7% to €88m.
Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff