LONDON (AdAge.com) -- Havas today reported revenue increased 1.5% in the first quarter of 2010 to $441 million, signaling the marketing communications sector has begun to shake off the recession and is returning to growth.
The news comes only a month after Havas reported a fall in revenue of 8.1% to $1.95 billion for full-year 2009.
Havas revenue rise compares with loss of 8.4% in year-ago period and was helped mostly by growth in the Americas, although the France-based owner of ad networks Euro RSCG, Arnold, Media Planning Group and Havas Media achieved pockets of growth in all regions.
North America, which accounts for 32% of group revenue, was up 5.2% on the previous year, with revenue of $153.2 million, up from a 9.2% decline in same period in 2009 thanks to a strong performance from Euro RSCG.
Latin America showed a massive 24.4% growth with revenue of $28 million, mostly due to the group's performance in Brazil.
Asia Pacific was up 4.4% to $20 million -- driven mostly by business in China, India and Singapore -- but Europe continued to disappoint with a 3% dip to $240 million. The U.K. was down 1.5%, while Spain and some of Eastern Europe still struggled to shake off the recession.
Havas' home turf of France, however, was mostly flat, reporting an uptick of of 0.5% to $94 million, compared to -6.1% in the first quarter of 2009.
The group claimed new billings of $770 million in the first quarter of this year, including Credit Suisse, Heineken's North American digital business, and Bupa (all Euro RSCG), as well as NBC Universal theme parks and the Turkish and Austrian Tourist Boards ( MPG).
Publicis Groupe, Havas' French advertising company rival, publishes first-quarter results on Thursday and the U.K.'s WPP on April 30.