The holding company's Specialized Agencies and Marketing Services (SAMS) group, which houses the communications business and all of digital, accounted for 47% of revenue, or $728.5 million, up from 41% of revenue, or $582.2 million, in the first quarter of 2009.
A source familiar with the company told PRWeek PR revenues were up about 4% year over year. Publicis reported digital activities accounted for 27% of total revenue at the end of the first quarter, compared to 20.1% of revenue in Q1 2009.In North America, revenue was $773 million, up 10.1% from $702 million in the first quarter 2009. Organic growth was 4.8% for the quarter.
Publicis recently reorganized its PR and marketing agencies under one brand, MS&L Group, and the company reported that the new Group is contributing to results by earning new business, including World Gold Council and, reported in PRWeek UK, the Swiss banking industry and London 2012.
Olivier Fleurot, CEO of MS&L Group, would not comment on those wins, but told PRWeek, "We did contribute well and it's just the beginning. We certainly improved the performance, the bottom line."
Maurice Levy, Publicis chairman and CEO, said, in a webcast about the earnings, "We are back to growth.
"We believe everything we have in hand is giving us a very good level of comfort to confirm to you that not only will we post black figures in terms of growth, but that we will outperform our competitors…in growth and margins," he added.
As the holding company showed growth, it discontinued the salary and hiring freezes that were instituted in late 2008.
"It is too early to say that the global economy has put the crisis completely behind it," Levy said in a statement. "The recovery is still fragile and subject to a complete recovery of the global financial system."
Additionally, Levy told The Guardian that he will not seek to extend his contract with Publicis when it expires in 2011. Fleurot could not confirm, and told PRWeek, "It's very difficult to speculate on that."*All figures were converted to US dollars from euros using the XE currency converter.