Publicis Reports First-Quarter Revenue Down 4.4%

North America Performs Less Badly Than Other Troubled Regions for Agency Holding Company

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LONDON ( -- Publicis Groupe reported a 4.4% decline in revenue to $1.43 billion for the first quarter of 2009. The advertising holding company said it is not expecting to see an economic recovery until summer 2010.

The owner of agency networks such as Saatchi & Saatchi, ZenithOptimedia and Leo Burnett forecast that the recession would reach its worst this summer, but today's announcement indicates Publicis Groupe is weathering the economic crisis better than its major rivals: WPP's revenue is down 5.8%, Interpublic Group of Cos.' is down 5.6% and Omnicom Group's is down 14%.

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North America is proving to be one of the more resilient territories for Publicis, with a decline of only 3.6%. That compares to 6.6% in Europe and 6.3% in Asia Pacific, where Korea, Japan and Australia are doing particularly badly.

Publicis' strongest territories were Latin America, with growth of 3.1%, and the Middle East and Africa, where growth was 3%.

Publicis CEO Maurice Levy said the group is "holding up well in this fiercely turbulent economic crisis" and is "clearly gaining market share." However, he added, "market deterioration is much worse than anticipated."

Publicis Groupe claims to have netted $1.7 billion in new business in the first quarter of the year, including Hewlett-Packard's personal-computer division in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Siemens in China.