Havas says its "moving in the right direction" with Q1 earnings

PARIS: Global communications group Havas reported a 2.6% increase in first-quarter 2006 revenue compared to the first three months of 2005.

PARIS: Global communications group Havas reported a 2.6% increase in first-quarter 2006 revenue compared to the first three months of 2005.

The Paris-based holding company, the majority of whose PR and corporate communications properties fall under the umbrellas of its Euro RSCG Worldwide and Arnold Worldwide divisions, reported Q1 earnings of Euro 339 million (about $436 million US) up from 330 million Euro ($424 million US) last year. In terms of organic growth, Havas reported 19.1% upswing in Latin America and 6% increase in Europe; revenue decline in other regions – including a 6.7% dip in North America – resulted in a 2.4% global drop compared to Q1 2005.

And although North American revenue saw the positive impact of a stronger dollar, it was "adversely affected" by a downturn in the healthcare-communications sector, Havas said in a statement.

Marking a sizeable leap over last year's Euro 39 million ($50 million), Havas reported first-quarter net new business at  Euro 620 million ($790 million); the company cited key account wins including worldwide corporate communications (b-to-b) for France Telecom Orange, and marketing services for Sheraton Hotels in Mexico and Seb in Spain. Asia Pacific has not recovered from the loss of key accounts, including Intel, in 2005.

While analysts called the Q1 earnings disappointing, Havas said it "is clearly moving in the right direction." Based on first-quarter results, the company said it expects "positive growth in the second half-year."

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