Havas revenue rose 7.2% in the first quarter, to $510 million. Organic growth, excluding acquisitions and exchange rate variations, was 3.5%.
The French communications group, whose networks include Euro RSCG, Arnold and MPG Media, suffered mixed fortunes in Europe but posted more solid results elsewhere in the world.
Its North American business grew 3.6%, just slightly better than French rival Publicis Groupe , which last week reported 3.3% growth in the region. Digital, health care and media performed strongest for Havas in the region.
Havas' home territory of France reported 5.1% growth; Germany and Italy also posted what Mr. Jones called "highly satisfactory" growth. But the U.K. suffered what he called a "temporary slowdown in marketing services," and the group's revenue there fell 0.2%.
Havas' figures are very different from those of its French rival, Publicis Groupe , which reported revenue up 8.6% in the U.K. but down in Italy.
Havas Global CEO David Jones said in a statement: "The group achieved good growth in the first quarter, despite a high comparative benchmark. A particular highlight was the strong performance in France, given what remains an uncertain economic environment in Europe."
Asia-Pacific sales were up 12.2%. Latin America also posted double-digit growth, with Mexico and Argentina performing well. Digital and media helped boost the numbers.
Havas claimed net new business of $796.8 million, with Euro RSCG winning Yili dairy in China, Lycra globally, PlayStation Network and PS+ in North America, and Nokia digital in India. Havas Media wins include Burger King for Cake U.K., Edun for MPG in the U.S. and Hyundai for MPG China.
As announced, Havas will drop the Euro RSCG brand name and replace it with Havas Worldwide on Sept. 1. At the same time, the group will introduce an umbrella brand, Havas Digital, to make it easier to market those capabilities.
Meanwhile, rival Publicis continues to invest in its digital resources. It announced the acquisition today of India's Indigo Consulting, a developer of websites, software solutions and digital marketing programs for clients that include HSBC, Tata AIG Insurance and South Australia Tourism. Publicis said Indio will operate under its own name as a unit within Leo Burnett Group in India.