HAVAS REPORTS 8.1% DROP IN REVENUES

CEO Says No Acquisitions Planned

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Though Havas Advertising reported a drop in its first quarter revenues, the agency holding company delighted analysts when it announced it had no intentions to "focus on major acquisitions."

Havas posted $458.6 million in revenues in the first quarter, down 8.1% from the first quarter of 2001, or down 5.5% adjusted for currency and acquisitions. Revenue in North America, which accounts for 46.9% of Havas' total, was down 8.2% on an adjusted basis.

Revenue for Europe,

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which totals 46.2% of revenues, was down 4.7%; Asia Pacific and Latin America revenues were up 12.2% and 5.9%, respectively. Traditional advertising revenue was down 8.1% to $168.1 million, and media and marketing services revenue dropped 4% to $290.5 million.

$517.1 million net new business
The company posted $517.1 million in net new business for the quarter, 53% of which came in marketing services.

In a conference call with analysts, Havas executives affirmed they expect an advertising rebound later this year and are concentrating on developing integrated marketing offerings to gain more share of existing clients' budgets.

Bob Schmetterer, chairman-CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide, said the company is "perhaps more focused on organic growth this year."

Persistent rumors
Chairman-CEO Alain de Pouzilhac said Havas is "not focused on major acquisitions" this year, which addressed persistent rumors that management felt pressured to seek deals after rival Publicis Groupe announced its acquisition of Bcom3 Group.

That comment was well received by the analysts, some of whom upgraded the stock after the call.

Merrill Lynch analyst Tom Deitz noted the stock price had been depressed by the speculation that Havas would spend on a large acquisition, and by weak earnings at Worldcom, a client which he estimated represents 1% of Havas' revenue.

Havas was among the most active shares on the Paris Bourse Tuesday, closing up 1.51% at $7.37.

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