Publicis Groupe Posts 9.2% Revenue Growth

Holding Company Chief Levy Attributes Gains to Investment in Digital, Emerging Markets

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LONDON (AdAge.com) -- Publicis Groupe on Thursday posted organic revenue growth of 9.2% and revenue of $1.85 billion for the third quarter of 2010, a lift Chairman-CEO Maurice Levy attributed largely to investing -- a nod to the holding company's purchase of Razorfish -- and in emerging markets.

North America was the fastest-growing region, with organic growth up 12% in the third quarter with revenue of $934 million, boosted by digital, which now accounts for 44% of revenue in the region. Publicis Groupe, owner of Publicis Worldwide, Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, Starcom MediaVest and ZenithOptimedia, reported organic growth of 6.6% for the first nine months of 2010, with revenue that was up 18.5% to $5.4 billion.

Mr. Levy said in a statement, "The 9.2% organic growth achieved in the third quarter is partly due to an upturn in the global advertising market, but more importantly, it is the outcome of our investment strategy in two high-growth areas, digital and emerging markets." Mr. Levy expects digital and emerging markets "eventually" to generate 60% of revenues. Average growth across the BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China -- so far this year is 15.6%.

In Asia Pacific, revenue was $212 million and overall growth 9.8% -- although China excelled with organic growth of 24.8%. Latin America recorded growth of 9.8% with revenue of $100 million, mainly driven by Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.

Organic growth in Europe was up 5% with revenue of $560 million. This was helped by growth of 12.6% in France and 9.3% in the U.K. Southern Europe is still struggling and Germany, although still negative, picked up "significantly" in the third quarter. Africa and Middle East recorded organic growth of 6.5% and revenues of $46 million.

Publicis Groupe claimed new business of $4.8 billion so far this year –- the same figure as at this time in 2009. Third-quarter wins include Glaxo Smith Kline and Gucci in Europe, plus H&R Block and Sony Playstation work in the U.S.

Publicis Groupe's French rival, Havas Group, reported organic revenue growth of 5.3% earlier this week, but its European heartland only just nudged into the black, mainly because of the loss of the $1 billion Carrefour business in January.

Mr. Levy said, "Despite traditional fourth-quarter uncertainties, we are confident about how the year will end." ZenithOptimedia's latest figures revised the growth outlook for 2010 up from 3.5% to .8%.

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