Havas' 2013 Forecast: It's A Lot Like 2012

Company Reports Full-Year Net Income Up 5% in Euros, But Down 3% in Dollars

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Havas expects 2013 to be a lot like 2012.

"We don't believe there's any reason this year will be dramatically better or dramatically worse than last year," said Havas CEO David Jones on a call with analysts on Thursday to discuss 2012 results. "We believe it will be very similar to 2012."

David Jones
David Jones

Havas reported most fourth quarter and full-year 2012 numbers last month, including revenue growth of 5.5% for the fourth quarter and 8% for the full year. (On a dollar basis, revenue in 2012 was flat).

Today Havas announced net income attributable to the group increased 5% in 2012 to 126 million euros. Net income, converted to dollars, fell 3.0% to $162 million, reflecting an increase in the value of the dollar.

Havas has been creating a more integrated structure for the group, eliminating the MPG media brand in January 2013 to create a single Havas Media Group after last year streamlining the agency side into Havas Creative Group and renaming Euro RSCG Worldwide, Havas Worldwide.

Mr. Jones said that next month, Havas' creative, digital and media operations will all be in the same place, with about 2,000 people in the same Manhattan building. The holding company put all its Paris employees under one roof last year after it paid about $206 million for its new headquarters.

Asked what deals lie ahead, Mr. Jones said last year's total spending of about $50 million for a handful of small agencies would probably be the average for this year, too. He said Havas is looking for companies that are selling for a broader purpose, like to fund expansion, rather than to just cash out.

"You're not going to see us write big checks to create digital silos," he said.

As the No. 6 global ad holding company, lagging far behind Dentsu in the No. 5 slot, Havas' future as a standalone holding company is often questioned, especially with no big acquisitions in its future plans. In a meeting with Advertising Age last week in New York, Yannick Bollore, who has been deputy CEO of Havas for the last six months and is the son of Havas Chairman Vincent Bollore, talked about the stability his family's shareholding brings to Havas. Bollore Group owns 37% of Havas, up from 33% a year ago.

He said the Bollore Group brings a long-term vision to building companies that is different from the short-term perspective at businesses with strategy dictated by quarterly results. Mr. Bollore, 33, noted that he is the seventh generation of Bollores to work in the family business. He joined Bollore Group in 2006, and ran Bollore Media's TV and newspaper holdings.

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