Publicis Groupe reports 5% PR growth in Q2

PARIS: Publicis Groupe reported that first-half 2011 organic revenue increased 2.7% year-over-year, including $2.4 billion of new business in the last six months. The PR component of its business posted 5% organic growth.

PARIS: Publicis Groupe reported that first-half 2011 organic revenue increased 2.7% year-over-year, which includes $2.4 billion of new business in the last six months. The PR component of its business posted 5% organic growth.

Overall, organic revenue rose 7.6% to $2 billion in the second quarter of 2011.

The holding company's organic growth in Europe for the second quarter was 9.1%, with growth in North America a little slower at 6.7%. Year-over-year, North America has increased its organic growth 5.3%, but its revenue has decreased by nearly 6%.

“We've had very good wins recently in the US, but we're growing faster in China, India, and Brazil because those countries have growing economies," said Olivier Fleurot, CEO of MSLGroup, one of Publicis' key PR holdings. "So in metro markets, like in the US or Western Europe, the growth is not as high as those fast growing markets.”

The US reached an organic growth rate of 7.2% this quarter, driven mainly by an increase in the social media and healthcare sectors.

Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Lévy said in a statement that despite the slowdown in the US seen over the last few months, Publicis expects a good third quarter for business performance in the country.

In the first half of 2011, Publicis' consolidated revenue totaled 31% from advertising, 20% from media, and 49% from SAMS, which includes public healthcare, the VivaKi digital group, PR, and the MSLGroup. Fleurot estimated that organic PR growth reached approximately 5%.

Levy stated that in the second quarter, international markets, including United Arab Emirates, Argentina, France, Greater China, Malaysia, Germany, Mexico, the Phillipines, Russia, Singapore, and Thailand, increased 10% or more in organic growth.

"We've been growing quite fast frequently through acquisitions," Fleurot added. "We have two very clear and very simple strategies at the group level that we apply everywhere, including in PR: acquiring businesses in the fast growing markets and also acquiring business in digital."

Publicis recently acquired Rosetta Marketing Group and New York-based social media agency Big Fuel, both of which will operate under VivaKi.

"The way the group is trying to organize this is to pull all the digital shops into the Vivika Nerve Center, so it can be used by all companies in the group," Fleurot explained.

MSLGroup signed on many new clients in the first half of 2011, including Special K, Sodexo, Keurig, Schools Serve, Carraba's, and more. The agency also cited Home Depot as a new account. Though it has worked with Home Depot in the past, the agency will now be selling different services.

MSLGroup plans to have 35% of its overall business derive from digital components in the next three years, according to Fleurot.

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