MSLGroup owner Publicis reports 'higher than expected' Q1 growth

MSLGroup parent company Publicis has reported a "higher than expected" 2.9 per cent growth in organic revenue in Q1, although its UK operations fared less well, declining 0.7 per cent in the quarter.

Publicis CEO Maurice Lévy: “We have made a promising start to 2016"
Publicis CEO Maurice Lévy: “We have made a promising start to 2016"

Total revenue for the company, which did not break down results for the PR business, grew 8.9 per cent to €2.29bn (£1.81bn, $2.6bn) in the first three months of 2016.

Organic growth across Europe was 3.4 per cent, although it dipped by 0.7 per cent in the UK, which it said was better than the sharp decline experienced in previous quarters. Growth in France was three per cent, with an increase "in the order of 10 per cent" in Germany and Italy.

Organic revenue growth in North America was three per cent, with growth "mainly attributable to the media business".

In Asia Pacific, organic growth was 3.8 per cent, including 8.6 per cent in India and 4.1 per cent in China. Organic revenue grew 0.7 per cent in the Middle East & Africa but fell 0.7 per cent in Latin America, where the situation "remains difficult" in Brazil and Mexico (down 9.5 and 14.6 per cent respectively).

Across the group, organic revenue growth was 7.6 per cent as the analogue business continued to decline (-1.9 per cent).

Maurice Lévy, chairman and CEO, said: "We have made a promising start to 2016 – both in terms of performance and our own transformation. Organic growth in the first quarter of 2.9 per cent was higher than expected and largely driven by accounts won at the end of 2015 and the good momentum in the media market.

"With 55 per cent of our revenue coming from digital, we are confident about our future but must remain cautious about the next two quarters, which will be more impacted by losses that occurred in the 2015 media account reviews."

Publicis reiterated its expectations of an improved performance in 2016, although it warned of the "uncertainty of the global economic environment".

In December, Publicis announced that it would restructure into four "solutions hubs", with PR business MSLGroup becoming part of the Publicis Communications hub, led by Arthur Sadoun.

Publicis’ revenue in 2015 was €9.6bn (£7.6bn, $10.9bn), with MSLGroup's estimated revenue in the period of around €400-440m (£316-348m, $450-500m) making up four or five per cent of the total.

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