Havas Soars in Third Quarter

Holding Company Posts 9.3% Organic Growth, Outpacing Publicis

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Holding company Havas surpassed rival Publicis in third-quarter growth, posting its strongest quarterly organic growth since 2000.
Havas' third-quarter organic growth -- a measure that excludes the impact of foreign currency and acquisitions -- rose 9.3 % to about $530 million, while Publicis' third-quarter organic growth rose 4.6 % to about $1.6 billion.

Feeling comfortable
Havas CEO Fernando Rodés Vilà credited the holding company's new-business wins such as Reckitt Benckiser, Sanofi-Aventis, Pfizer, Exxon Mobil, GSK, Progressive Direct and SFR, and its expertise in media and digital for its performance. "We are very happy with our growth in Q3, and feel all the more comfortable about achieving our objectives for the full year 2007," he said in a statement.

Havas posted strong results in North America, with a 9% organic-revenue growth in the quarter that resulted from a "sharp acceleration of all its activities, especially in Euro RSCG 4D Chicago and New York, but also Media Contacts, media expertise and advertising in the case of Arnold," the company said.

Rival Publicis, meanwhile, said it was hurt by the U.S. dollar exchange rate -- a difficulty WPP Group also reported earlier this month.

Levy is 'encouraged'
But CEO Maurice Levy said he was "encouraged" by the holding company's 4.6% organic growth after a "disappointing first half." He noted the double-digit growth of media agencies and Digitas, a digital agency acquired by Publicis in January, which was therefore not included in organic growth calculations for 2007.

Mr. Levy said the holding company has been continuing to build up its mobile and digital investments.

"We have built up leading positions in the digital sector and have strengthened our position in high-growth emerging economies, in line with our strategy. ... All these developments are leading to the steady transformation of the Groupe and of our business model, which will positively affect our future growth," Mr. Levy said in a statement.
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