Havas Reports Third-Quarter Organic Growth of 5.5%

Including Acquisitions, Revenue Increases 15.7%

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Yannick Bolloré
Yannick Bolloré Credit: Havas

Havas reported organic growth – excluding acquisitions – of 5.5% in the third quarter of 2015, with total revenues up 15.7% to $575 million.

In North America, organic growth reached 7.3% in the third quarter, and 8.5% for the first nine months of the year, with Arnold, Havas Edge and Havas Worldwide Chicago each delivering more than 15% growth.

During the summer of heavyweight account reviews, Havas held on to its Sears media business, and Havas Worldwide Chicago picked up creative and digital assignments for Kmart.

Despite the strong growth, Yannick Bolloré, Havas CEO, reiterated his conviction on a call with analysts that he wants Havas to "stay fit and not become fat." He said, "We want to continue to be the most efficient company from a client standpoint."

Including acquisitions, growth reached 15.7% for the quarter, mostly due to last month's $75 million purchase of FullSix in France -- the biggest deal in 15 years for a company that tends to buy relatively small businesses.

Latin America disappointed, with a 0.9% drop in revenue for the quarter, brought down by Brazil and Mexico.

Havas claimed net new business of $1.53 million for the first nine months of the year, including Kmart, the National Association of Realtors and RE/MAX in the U.S.; Sharp, Manpower and Calzedonia Group in Europe, and Citroën and Electronic Arts in Asia.

Looking ahead, Mr. Bolloré predicted a more "careful and cautious" approach to the first half of 2016, but said he expects the second half to be "better."

Havas' third quarter results are very different from those reported by its French rival, Publicis Groupe, earlier today, which reported organic revenue growth of just 0.7%. Chairman-CEO Maurice Lévy blamed a spending slowdown, too many media reviews, the distraction of the Sapient acquisition, and the continued fallout from the failed Omnicom merger for the weak results.

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