Holding Company Cites Continued Weakness in Europe's Ad Market

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NEW YORK ( -- Havas posted a 7.7% drop in revenue for 2002, due to continued weakness in the European advertising market that offset improvements in North America.

The French holding company, which is parent of advertising networks Euro RSCG and Arnold Worldwide, reported revenues of $2.15 billion for 2002, down 7.7% from 2001, or a drop of 5.8% on an organic basis, after adjusting for acquisitions and the effects of currency. For the fourth quarter, revenue of $556.7 million was 6.7% below the same period in 2001 on an organic basis.

The company will not report full 2002 earnings figures until March 6.

Key markets struggle
Recovery in the Asia/Pacific and Latin America markets, where 2002 revenues rose 5.2% and 0.5%, respectively, was not enough to offset drops of 5.7% in Europe and 7.2% in North America. But revenue drops in North America -- Havas' second-largest market after Europe -- moderated in the fourth quarter, when revenues were down only 1.5% from the year-ago period, while European revenue dropped 11.4%.

Traditional advertising appeared to recover slightly, down only 0.2%, in the fourth quarter, when it was flat in the year-ago period, while marketing services and media revenue dropped 10.4%. For the year, traditional advertising revenue dropped 8.9% and marketing and media revenue dropped 6.9%.

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