PARIS: Havas' first-quarter revenues fell 6% from the same period last year, dropping from about $467.5 million to $440.4 million. North American revenues, though, remained flat, increasing less than 1% over the year before, moving from about $154.3 million to $155.7 million.
Overall organic growth was down 8% comparatively during the quarter, and North American organic growth decreased by 9% compared to Q1 of 2008.
Digital, though, was a bright spot for Havas. It enjoyed a 7% gain in organic growth during the first quarter, and now accounts for 16% of the company's total revenues. The holding company, the parent of Abernathy MacGregor and Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, also noted in its earnings statement that spending by financial and healthcare clients decreased 20% and 11%, respectively, "particularly in the USA."
It does not break out PR revenues.
Other marketing services holding companies have also reported first quarter revenue declines induced by the ongoing recession.
Net new business at Havas was nearly $687 million during the period, a less than 1% decline from the year-ago period. The company had finished last year with just under $2 billion in revenues, about a 2% increase over 2007; it included about $2 billion in net new business.
A Havas representative could not be immediately reached for comment.