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Havas Reports Modest 2% Organic Growth for Second Quarter

Follows WPP Cutting Growth Forecast

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French ad holding company Havas on Friday announced that organic growth for the second quarter was up 2%, while revenue in the quarter was $557 million.

David Jones
David Jones

For the first half, organic growth was up by 2.7%, while group revenue was up 8% over last year to over $1 billion.

That pace of growth is a bit of a slowdown since 2011, when the company in the third quarter reported its best organic growth rate in years. Yesterday, Havas' far-bigger competitor, WPP, cut its full-year growth forecast. Both companies' reports seem to be signaling that clients are being cautious about spending in the latter part of 2012 and going into next year.

Havas was nearly flat in the quarter in North America compared to 3.6% growth in Q1. Europe was up over last year and Asia-Pacific was described as having "delivered an excellent first half driven by China and Australia," while Latin America saw a slowdown in the second quarter.

"All our regions continued to deliver growth in the first half led by Asia, Latin America, digital, media and health care," Havas CEO David Jones said in a statement. He also called out some new-business wins in the first half of the year, including Volvo in China, work for Novartis and GSK, and digital work for Hershey's.

Mr. Jones in the statement also referenced the company's purchase of U.S. crowdsourcing shop Victors & Spoils, European digital agency Boondoggle and other companies. "We made a number of targeted acquisitions during the first half of 2012, bringing into the group innovative agencies and talent adept at using digital technology and creativity to meet the future needs of our clients."

Looking ahead, Havas appears to be driving consolidation of some of the company's assets, and integration between agencies in other areas. It recently rolled up some shops on its home turf in France into a single offering, and moved all of its agencies under a single roof in its headquarters just outside of Paris. A similar regrouping is slated to take place next year in the New York office, where Arnold , MPG and other shops will sit together in the same building as of March 2013.

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