Havas Posts 9.4% Profit Increase in 2014

CEO Yannick Bolloré is 'Serene' About Company's 2015 Prospects

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French communications group Havas has reported a 9.4% increase in 2014 net income to $149 million.

Yannick Bollore
Yannick Bollore Credit: Havas

Havas, which last month reported 5.1% organic growth and 5.2% revenue growth for 2014 on revenue of almost $2 billion, said that 62% of revenue came from creative operations, and 38% from media. North America accounted for 32% of revenue, France for 19%, and the U.K. for 13%.

Speaking at a meeting with analysts in Paris, Havas CEO Yannick Bolloré described his outlook on 2015 as "serene."

Most of the revenue growth, according to chief financial officer François Laroze, was organic, because "the M&A effect was very low during 2014."

Unlike some of its rivals, Mr. Bolloré said that Havas prefers to make majority acquisitions, because "at Havas we believe in integration." However, he said that he was considering more deals involving associations with tech companies in the future.

Mr. Bolloré said that Havas increased its headcount by 800 last year. Havas agencies include Havas Worldwide, Havas Media, Arnold Worldwide and Arena Media.

New business wins in 2014 included Danone, Siemens, Disney, Burger King, Emirates, LG, and Century Link, which Mr. Bolloré said demonstrated that there is a "bright future" at Arnold after "two painful years."

In WPP's 2014 earnings call last week, CEO Martin Sorrell was less sanguine than Mr. Bollore about the coming year. Mr. Sorrell identified five "grey swans" that could be unsettling for business in 2015, including the U.K. election in May, which he said is unlikely to help conditions in WPP's home market, regardless of the outcome. If a right-wing government is elected, there will be uncertainty about Britain's position in Europe, while a left-wing leader would champion a "business-bashing" agenda.

Mr. Sorrell cited four other "grey swans" that could knock business confidence in 2015: the "litany of woes" in the Middle East, the "fragile" eurozone, "continuing fears" around the slowdown in emerging markets, and the situation in the Ukraine.

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