Havas '09 revenues down 8%, organic growth improving

PARIS: Havas, parent company of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR and Abernathy MacGregor, saw an 8% decrease in global revenues for the year with North America posting a 4% year-over-year decline.

PARIS: Havas, parent company of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR and Abernathy MacGregor, saw an 8% decrease in global revenues for the year with North America posting a 4% year-over-year decline. Revenues were $1.99 billion overall, down from $2.16 billion in 2008. In North America its 2009 revenues were $631 million, compared to $658 million a year ago.*

Havas is the first of the large PR and advertising holding companies to report its year-end numbers. Omnicom's are expected on Wednesday, Publicis' the following week, and later this month, Huntsworth and Interpublic Group.. 

Havas' fourth quarter revenues were $572 million, compared to $621 million in Q4 2008. North America posted revenues of $163 million, down from $181 million in Q4 2008.

The company noted that its overall organic growth was down 4.4% for the fourth quarter, but it represents an improvement over all three of the previous 2009 quarters. For example, companywide organic growth hit its lowest point in the second quarter when it was down 9.8%. In North America, Q4 organic growth was down only 0.7%. Meanwhile, it declined more than 14% in the UK for Q4, a region which was affected by a "steep reduction in advertising spending," the company said.

For the year, organic growth was down about 8% globally and 7.5% in North America. Digital, healthcare, and corporate communications produced a positive effect the bottom line.

"Digital increased its share of revenue from 9% in 2006 to over 16% in 2009," the company said in a statement. "Health communication also reported positive growth over the year as a whole, as did the media and corporate communication businesses, which for the first time in the year, returned to positive figures in the fourth quarter 2009."

Representatives from Havas Worldwide, the division of Havas that houses advertising and PR firms, and Euro RSCG Worldwide PR declined to comment on the results beyond the press release. Nor did the company provide any guidance for 2010.

*All figures were converted to US dollars from euros using the XE currency converter.

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